Extreme heat forces summer camps to modify outdoor activities to keep campers safe

ST. LOUIS, Missouri (KMOV) – Extreme temperatures are forcing area summer camps to modify their activities to keep camp counselors and children safe.

Camp Fury, a week-long camp run by the Girl Scouts of America, introduces high school girls to hands-on first responder experiences. Throughout the week, the girls learn the skills used by law enforcement, firefighters and paramedics.

“This is my fourth time coming and pretty much after my freshman year I knew I wanted to get into EMS,” said camper Nichole Hofmann. “It’s so much fun, and we make friends throughout the week and learn to work together and trust each other.”

On Tuesday, the girls traversed an obstacle course, encouraged by their fellow campers to complete the course in the sweltering heat.

“I’m dying right now,” camper Saury Dudenhoeffer said. “I’m in a dark blue shirt with dark blue shorts and it’s really hot.”

Typically, the girls wore full firefighting gear, including a mask and tank. This year, because of the heat, the girls ditched the jacket, mask and tank top to stay cool.

“They’re a little less dressed than what we normally do, so normally we’d be in full gear with a mask and a tank as well,” said Fenton Fire Protection District Lt. Gina Anderson.

An experience of putting out a real car fire was simply simulated with a fire hose on Tuesday, as camp leaders said the temperature was too high to use a real flame, which would require the girls to wear a additional protective equipment.

The camp is run by women from the area fire departments, who hope to encourage more young women to enter the fire and police fields.

“We definitely need more women,” Lt. Anderson said. “But whether they decide to go on the pitch or not, we hope they feel empowered by everything they’ve learned.”

“There are first responders, new ones that I haven’t met and it’s really cool to build those relationships with departments that I want to work with in the future,” Hofmann said.

Dudenhoeffer said it was her first time at Camp Fury and although she prefers the forensic side of law enforcement, the camp was an eye opener for her.

“Normally you see what first responders do in Hollywood which is usually so dramatic but here we get to see first hand what they do day to day and I realized it was pretty awesome and fulfilling,” she said. said.