Upper Valley Summer Camps Aim to Reduce Risk From Ticks

Published: 5/4/2018 6:03:32 PM
Modified: 5/4/2018 6:03:46 PM
Summer Camps Aim to Reduce Risk From Ticks

Fairlee — Seven Upper Valley summer camps have joined with the Global Lyme Alliance to reduce risk to campers from ticks.

Vermont camps participating in the program include Camp Akeela, in Thetford Center, and the six programs of The Aloha Foundation: Aloha Camp, Camp Lanakila, the Hulbert Outdoor Center and Horizons Day Camp in Fairlee; Aloha Hive Camp in West Fairlee; and Ohana Family Camp in Post Mills.

“Tick populations have skyrocketed in the past few years, putting our children at greater risk than ever,” Scott Santarella, CEO of the Global Lyme Alliance, said in a news release. “Unfortunately, microscopic ticks are just waiting for unsuspecting children who love to roll around the grass and explore the great outdoors.”  

The alliance partnered with Ivy Oaks Analytics, a Connecticut-based company, to develop tracking of tick populations and implement landscape modification solutions and natural tick control methods. Staff at participating camps receive tick safety training through the alliance’s “Be Tick AWARE” program, and each camp receives a kit that contains a “Check 4 Ticks” body check poster, a tick-remover tool, a tick identification card and a poster with prevention tips.

More than 329,000 people in the U.S. are infected with Lyme disease each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children ages 3 to 14 are at particularly high risk for tick bites and have the highest national incidence of Lyme disease.

“As camp professionals, our first priority is the safety of our campers and staff,” said Debbie Sasson, director of Camp Akeela.

Christopher Overtree, executive director of The Aloha Foundation, said that paying more attention to tick safety is part of continual improvements at the camp. 

“While ticks have never been a significant problem at the Aloha Camps, we know the population is growing and felt it was our responsibility to do more to ensure the safety of our campers and staff,” he said. “Having this protocol in place allows us to monitor this important health and safety issue, take preventative measures, reduce risks and better protect those in our care.”

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