OCO News

OCO sun safety helps youth enjoying Palermo park

For youth in Oswego County summertime is recreation time! For those in Palermo and the surrounding area that means a visit to the Palermo Town Park. Located at 1779 Co. Rt. 45, the park offers children plenty of green space for games and other activities, including a nature trail.


The park’s summer recreation program, which runs Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., is available to youth ages five through 15. The program attracts approximately 60 children each day that participate in a variety of weekly themed activities, field trips, and more. While the children are enjoying the abundant sunshine for hours,

protection from the sun’s rays is a must.


“Sun safety is essential,” said Sarah Herrington, director of the park’s summer recreation program.” I have been impacted by skin cancer and I know how incredibly important it is to protect yourself from overexposure to sunlight.”


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight causes nearly all skin cancer cases. The risk for skin cancer can be greatly reduced when certain precautions are practiced.


“Palermo Town Park is busy all summer long,” said Christina Wallace, Program Advocate with OCO’s Cancer Prevention in Action (CPiA) program. “In addition to the summer recreation program the park hosts reunions, parties, and more. OCO’s CPiA program educates community members on what they can do to prevent cancer and the Palermo Town Park is a perfect place to do so. In addition to providing bucket hats for youth in the park’s summer recreation program (see photo), we have added signage throughout the park that encourages sun safety practices and what can be done to help prevent skin cancer.”


Upon contacting Palermo Town Clerk Elisabeth Joy to discuss the importance of sun safety, Wallace met with the Palermo Town Board to draft a sun safety policy with helpful tips to protect visitors, staff and youth from the harmful UV rays of the sun.


“When Christina approached us regarding the importance of sun safety in our park, we thought it was an excellent idea,” said Herrington. “I realize that teaching children when they are young about the need for sun safety and providing them with the resources to prevent skin cancer is essential to their overall health.”

Through signage and verbal reminders, youth in the summer recreation program and park visitors are encouraged to follow the following sun safety tips:

-Wear sunglasses that protect 100% of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays

– Wear full brimmed hats

– Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants when exposed to long periods of sun

– Apply full-spectrum (UVA & UVB) sunscreen (SPF 15 or greater) to exposed skin 30 minutes before going outside in the sun.

– Play in shaded areas

– Seek shade when outside in the sun


“Partnering with the Palermo Town Board to establish a sun safety policy was a perfect fit for us,” said Wallace. “Unless the heat is oppressive many of us don’t realize just how much our skin is being exposed to sunlight. Without paying attention to sun safety, sunburn can happen quickly. Even on cloudy or hazy days unseen UV rays can cause an unexpected sunburn resulting in lasting damage that could lead to skin cancer later in life.”


“We appreciate the enthusiasm we received from Sarah, Elisabeth, and the Town Board members for this project and for acknowledging how important sun safety is,” added OCO Coordinator of Community Health Leanna Cleveland. “The CPiA program focuses on policies that serve as catalysts for environmental changes. Sun safety is paramount in preventing skin cancer and melanoma and we are happy to be partnering with the Town of Palermo on its sun safety policy and providing them with bucket hats for youth in its summer recreation program and information to help protect visitors and staff at the park”


Oswego County Opportunities is a subcontractor of the St. Lawrence Health Initiative to deliver the Cancer Prevention in Action grant locally in Oswego County. To learn more about the Cancer Prevention in Action Program, which is supported with funds from the state of New York, please visit takeactionagainstcancer.com.


OCO is a private, non-profit agency that has been supporting communities throughout Oswego County since 1966. A member agency of the United Way of Greater Oswego County, OCO provides more than 50 vital services throughout 100 separate locations.  For more information, visit www.oco.org. Did you know? It’s OCO!

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