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Safety Plan for High School Students in Winter Camp

For nature lovers who enjoy the cold weather, winter is the ideal time to go camping and enjoy the outdoors. Frozen rivers, snow-covered forests, and icicles form incredible scenery. However, many high school students want to remain indoors when the temperatures are freezing. This means campers can enjoy uncrowded areas, engage in various camp activities, and have fun. To enjoy a smooth camping experience, a safety plan for high school students in winter camp is crucial.

Read on to learn about preparing for winter camp, what to pack for a winter camping trip, cold-related illnesses to avoid, and how to remain safe during the winter camp season.

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How do you Prepare for Winter Camping?

During the warm weather, numerous people flock to summer camps to enjoy nature and engage in fun outdoor activities. On the contrary, only a few people want to go camping under snow conditions. You don’t have to wait until the summer season to go camping. Through practice, you can soon get used to camping in the cold weather, getting opportunities to continue camping during winter when the day camps are less crowded.

While winter camp has numerous benefits, like avoiding bug bites and crowds, it can be dangerous. That’s why it’s critical to prepare yourself accordingly for your trip. Preparing for your trip is more than the enrollment and check-in process. Preparing for your first day in winter camp can take weeks, based on how much campers have in terms of their supplies, the amount of inclement weather they can tolerate, and their previous camping experience. Are you considering going or enrolling your children in winter camping? Here are tips to prepare and determine whether the trip is ideal.

· Read the Weather Forecast

A winter camping site

Read the weather report at your destination and check for any warning notifications. Doing so will help you predict the conditions to expect throughout the trip. Overrate cold weather conditions o be on the safe side. For instance, if the weather forecast predicts -5 degrees, pack clothes to help you survive -10 degrees. That way, severe weather changes won’t catch you off-guard.

· Assess Your Equipment

Check and confirm your equipment to ensure you have everything you need and that it’s working appropriately. While many winter camp facilities will provide all the gear elementary school campers need, it’s crucial to pack essential staff. Pack extra batteries to use if you already have run out of power.

When camping in off-grid areas, ensure you have a power bank to cater to your needs. Other essentials to prepare include facemasks, thick-soled walking boots, warm clothing, a first aid kit, maps, and compasses. You’ll also need to confirm your vaccination status and the CDC safety requirements at your destined camping destination.

· Understand the Road Conditions

The core difference between regular and winter camping is accessibility to critical supplies should things go wrong. When the roads are snow-filled, fewer resources and rescuers can assist campers out of the wilderness. The camp staff understands what to do in case of an emergency. However, you must prepare timely pick-up and drop-off facilities, especially if you go to day camps. If reports show poor road conditions, consider postponing the trip until it’s safe to drive to the camping site. 

· Prepare for Sudden Weather Changes

When camping during winter, you must understand that the weather can change drastically due to factors like wind direction, speed, intensity, and precipitation type, as well as temperature changes across the day. Prepare for poor weather by packing sufficient clothes to keep you warm in the worst weather conditions. 

What are Some Things to Pack for Winter Camping?

Whether preparing for a one-day or week-long winter camping expedition, having the appropriate equipment is crucial for your well-being and health. While snow-tucked topography can be magically alluring, such trips can turn uncomfortable and tragic within seconds, especially if you are inadequately prepared. Here are some essential things you should pack for your winter camping trip.

· Winter Tent

Winter Tent covered in snow

Even if the winter camp facility provides camping essentials onsite, packing a winter tent can be handy if you want an adventurous experience. In this case, a 4-season tent can be ideal, especially if the weather forecast calls for sub-zero and snow temperatures. These tents come with a thicker fabric and sturdier poles to prevent them from blowing off during chilly weather or allowing snow to soak through.

· Sleeping Bag

Your sleeping bag should be designed for temperatures lower than the coldest degrees expected for the winter camping trip. If you are expecting wet conditions, ensure your sleeping bag is waterproof and made of synthetic materials. The sleeping bag should also have an insulated sleeping pad to offer an extra layer between the cold winter surface and your body. Your sleeping pad should have a high R-value, featuring the highest insulation to ensure you remain warm all night. 

· Hiking Backpack

Whether hiking or driving to your campsite, a hiking backpack is a must-have winter camping essential. Winter camping gear is usually heavier and more significant than summer camp gear. As a result, your winter camp backpack should be large enough to accommodate and keep your camping gear dry. Ensure your bag is waterproof to keep rain, ice, and snow away. Further, the backpack should be comfortable to carry for prolonged periods regardless of the activities you engage in or the length of the trip. 

· Hiking Boots

Hiking boots should be insulated and waterproof to protect your feet from icy streams, damp snow, and frostbite. Your hiking boots should have the proper traction because ice and snow can be slippery, leading to falls. 

· Winter Socks

Warm winter socks add an extra layer of protection to insulated hiking boots. Find socks made from synthetic fabrics or merino wool because they are moisture-wicking and warm. 

· Gaiters

Gaiters are critical, especially when hiking snowy winter terrain. Skiers wear hiking gaiters over their winter boots to prevent snow and ice from penetrating their pants or shoes. 

· Crampons 

If you plan to do lots of challenging activities like sledding or jumping jacks, crampons are essential. They add an extra grip to your hiking boots, preventing you from slipping and falling as you move through rugged terrain. 

· Base Layer

A base layer is a critical part of your winter camping essentials. It helps trap warmth close to the skin, wicks moisture away to keep the skin dry, and insulates the body from cold. Campers will likely generate sweat during winter camp activities. Freezing conditions can trigger hypothermia or a chill if sweat remains on the skin. The ideal base layers are made from merino wool because it’s odor resistant, soft, and warm. If the camping trip lasts a few days, one set of base layers will be enough. However, if the winter camping trip will last more than a week, pack an extra set. 

· Mid Layer Clothing 

The mid-layer clothing is crucial in ensuring your body retains heat. The mid layer should not be overly bulky under the outer layer of clothing, but it should be able to balance temperature management under cold yet active conditions. Synthetic insulated or puffy down jackets are ideal, while heavy fleece jackets can also be a great option. Choose long heavyweight underwear or fleece pants for the mid-layer for enhanced comfort. 

· Outerwear Clothing

Ensure your outer layer clothing is windproof and waterproof. Remember, temperatures are unpredictable and can change fast. Proper outer layer clothing should be more wind resistant, thicker, and warmer than the average hiking pants. These keep off wind and water and trap warmth close to your body. 

· Winter Gloves

Mittens and gloves are excellent for keeping your hands warm during winter camping. While mittens are warmer, waterproof and insulated gloves, allow you to do things around the campsite without exposing your hands to extreme cold weather. 

· Hand warmers

Warming your hands during a winter trip can be relieving and comforting. Carry good hand warmers to last the entire camping trip. Carry an extra battery if your hand warmers are rechargeable. 

· Stove

Starting a fire during winter can be challenging for staff members at the winter camping facility. However, carrying your own stove helps you use it whenever you need warm beverages and hot water for your hot water bottles to keep the tent comfortable during the night.

· Thermos

Thermos

While a thermos is not an essential item for the winter camp gear list. You can use your thermos to store your hot drinks such as tea, coffee, hot cocoa, or even water. 

What are the Types of Cold-related Injuries?

Cold-related injuries occur after exposure to icy environments while engaging in physical activity. Besides being uncomfortable and life-threatening, exposure to cold weather can impair a camper’s performance. Common cold-related injuries include:

  • Blisters may occur due to poorly fitting footwear and friction from wet socks, causing blisters on the heels, feet, and toes. 
  • Strains and sprains. Connective tissue and cold muscles have reduced elasticity, making them prone to injury. Falls are likely to occur when activity performance is reduced during cold weather. Often, soft tissue injuries are severe. Muscles and ligaments around the shoulder, knee, spine, and wrist joints suffer fall-related injuries during snowboarding or skiing. 
  • Frostbite occurs when skin tissues freeze. Ice crystals around and inside the skin cells restrain blood movement across the capillaries, depriving the skin of oxygen and other essential nutrients.  
  • Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature drops below 35°C. Symptoms of hypothermia include lack of coordination, drowsiness, and shivering. The affected person can become unconscious or even die if not attended to immediately. 
  • Head injury occurs due to the high-speed character of snow activities. Impact injuries on the head can have severe health consequences. Suppose you or a colleague sustain a head injury during snow activities camp medical staff should attend to you immediately. Don’t engage in snow activities unless you have clearance from the health department in your local area. 

Safety Plan for HighSchool Students in Winter Camp

Campers watching a fun winter activity

Winter camping is synonymous with cold temperatures. However, that shouldn’t discourage you from attending an overnight snowshoe or ski tour event at the base camp. Here are safety tips to help you enjoy your winter camping trip. 

· Dress in Layers

Dress in multiple layers, including base and mid layers, shell, and puffy jackets. These clothing give you more control over controlling your body temperature. As you engage in daily activities, your body will generate heat. It’s crucial to avoid sweat as much as possible because when it dries, it cools and wraps you in a cold cushion. Regulate your body heat by subtracting and adding layers to prevent sweating, a core component of remaining warm during winter adventures. 

· Remove Sweaty Clothes

Pack an extra base layer to help you change your clothes. When you settle down after a long day of activities, remove all your sweaty clothes and change into a new set of dry clothes. Doing so helps your body rebuild warmth. Layer up as much as you can to feel comfortable. Wear a parka-grade puffy jacket on top to complete your look. During freezing nights, consider wearing a hard-shell jacket over your puffy. Shell jackets trap heat well, giving you all the warmth you need to stay comfortable.

· Use a Sleeping Bag and a Quilt

Finding the right winter gear that provides warmth but remains compact and light can be difficult. This is where you need to use your sleeping bag and a featherweight quilt. Today, manufacturers use advanced materials to make quilts and sleeping bags lighter yet more efficient. A featherweight quilt protects you during the coldest nights giving you an additional layer of ultralight warmth for added comfort. 

· Use Two Sleeping Pads

While your winter camping mattress insulates your body against the cold, snowy grounds, sleeping pads add more insulation and warmth. A sleeping pad’s R-value determines its thermal resistance. Two sleeping pads have a higher R-value to give you extra insulating power. 

· Go to Bed in a Balaclava

You lose lots of heat via your head, but you can increase body heat by covering it. Jacket hoods and beanies often slip off while you sleep. However, a balaclava stays put, trapping in the heat you need to be comfortable. Further, it has a breathing hole to facilitate ventilation. Layer your balaclava under a hood or beanie for added warmth. 

· Place a Hot Water Bottle in Your Core Area

Place your hot water bottle around the groin area. Here, it will warm the blood that flows across your body, reaching all your boundaries and heating your entire body faster. The difference is significant, and that little trick can keep you warm during the rest of your time at the winter camp. Always exercise caution when handling hot water to avoid burning yourself. Ensure your hot water bottle lid is tightly closed to prevent leaks. 

· Vent the Tent

Airflow inside your tent is critical during winter camping. When you breathe, you release hot gas inside the tent. Once these water droplets rest in the cold tent or fabric, condensation occurs. Partially opening the vents of the tent prevents the tent from freezing. 

· Eat and Hydrate Sufficiently

The body burns calories to remain warm. As a result, constant snacking keeps your body warm. High protein and high-fat foods burn slower at night than their high-carb counterparts, keeping you fuller and warmer for longer. Hydration plays a huge role in how your body operates under cold conditions. Dehydrating yourself prevents you from remaining warm. Drink sufficient amounts of water to reduce fatigue

Finally 

While winter camping is not as popular as summer camping, it can be fun and exciting, especially for high school students keen on discovering new things. The tips in this article will help you remain comfortable and safe during your winter camp trip.

Always research before sending high school students to a backcountry winter camp facility. Try to get answers to as many FAQs as possible to ensure campers will be safe at the camping facility. Read about their refund policy, too, to prepare for any eventualities. Contact us today to book a winter camping slot for your high school student.

21 Health Tips at Winter Camp in Switzerland

Spending a few days at a winter camp in Switzerland can be a fun and challenging experience. In this guide, we discuss important health precautions young campers should take so they can enjoy, learn and interact with their campmates throughout their camp’s duration. Parents preparing their kids for the annual winter camp can also use this as a guideline on health tips at winter camp in Switzerland.

21 HEALTH TIPS AT WINTER CAMP IN SWITZERLAND

Going to winter camp is a process that needs careful planning especially since the venue is in a new country. We’ll provide these important tips as a journey right from the planning phase, during the amp to the return journey after camp.

TIP#1 SAFETY STARTS WITH PREPARATION

You need to prepare well to guarantee your safety when going to winter camp. Preparing involves getting the necessary vaccinations, packing cold weather clothing, going for a medical checkup, etc. Parents taking their kids to winter camp should ensure they have everything they need during the trip. For example, ensure you pack any prescription medicine your kid might be using at the time.

TIP#2: EAT AND DRINK

Winter camp organizers provide plenty of food and snacks for campers to keep their internal furnace cranking and their daily calorie intake intact. Eating well is recommended because it keeps your body in good condition due to the higher metabolism experienced in cold weather. Don’t be afraid to snack or finish the generous food servings you get throughout your camping period.

To the campers, there is no need to pack your food or snacks for winter camp as this is provided by the camp and included in the camping fee. It may be tempting to pack a few sweet treats but it’s not recommended as high sugar intake in winter depresses your immune system and can cause systemic inflammation. A lot of sugar in winter can leave you susceptible to the flu and other cold-weather diseases.

TIP#3: REPORT HEALTH INCIDENTS IMMEDIATELY

Campers should be alert about their health and fellow campers’ health at all times to be safe. Most winter camps have a team of instructors and a medic on site who can react to minor or major health incidents. The severity of a health incident should not dictate your need to report it or not. It could be a fever, inflammation, unexplained headaches, pain from an injury, chest pains, etc.

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Some health issues are harder to detect especially where younger campers are involved. For instance, young adults with depression or mental health issues may not exhibit their health status until its too late. Alerting the organizers means they can monitor affected campers more closely.

TIP#4: TAKING PRESCRIPTION MEDICINE

Carrying on from the previous tip, campers must maintain any prescription medication schedule they might have while on camp. For young adults, it’s easier because all they need is to carry their medicine to camp and continue taking it. Younger campers need to be monitored by an adult supervisor or caretaker to ensure they are doing the same.

On the same point, it’s important for parents of younger campers who are taking medicine to alert the camp organizers so that the onsite medic can ensure they are taking it correctly. While it’s easy to arrange transport to a medical facility in Zurich, Geneva, or any major city around camp, sometimes it may not help if an incident is reported late.

TIP#5: FOLLOW CAMP SAFETY PROTOCOLS

Many winter camps have comprehensive safety protocols that campers must follow to stay healthy and safe. You will get these safety protocols in print form or they will be communicated to you on arrival. For instance, Swiss winter camp organizers may require young adults to avoid coming into contact with dangerous plants or animals.

TIP#6: AVOID CONTAMINATED WATER

Always drink clean water provided by the camp organizers to avoid getting water-borne diseases such as diarrhea, typhoid, cholera, amebiasis, hepatitis, scabbles, worm infections, and gastroenteritis, just to name a few. Keep your water bottle with you at all times and always hydrate when necessary to stay healthy on camp.

Avoid Contaminated Water

Sometimes children or young adults tend to take risks and may end up drinking contaminated water from streams or paddles. Camp organizers can prevent this by monitoring them at all times and providing clean drinking water at regular intervals. Ideally, water bottles should be replaced at least once or twice a day and on request.

TIP#7: CLEAN AND SANITIZE ITEMS

Always clean or sanitize personal items such as your toothbrush, face towels, dental floss, reusable cups, etc.  Cleaning or sanitizing these items ensures that they are not contaminated with disease-causing germs. Also, ensure that you store them in a clean dry place away from the elements and animals such as rodents that may venture into your campsite.  

TIP#8: BEWARE OF FOOD ALLERGIES

Food allergies can cause serious health complications, especially for younger campers. For this reason, parents or campers should alert the organizers early about any food allergies. Most camp organizers can prepare a separate dish for campers with known food allergies. Campers who may experience allergic reactions must alert the nearest adult in camp so they can be attended to.

TIP#9: GET ENOUGH SLEEP

It’s easy to get carried away with the fun and games during winter camp that your sleeping hours are affected. To stay healthy, it’s important to get enough sleep which is usually between 8 to 9 hours per day for young adults and children. Avoid staying up after lights out or spending too much time near campfires that you forget to set up your tent and sleep.

TIP#10: KEEP YOURSELF WARM

For your health, always keep warm by dressing warm. Always wear an extra layer of clothing, and use hand warmers, gloves, warm sleeping pads, and other essential cold weather items.

TIP#11: HELP FELLOW CAMPERS WHEN POSSIBLE

Sometimes you may need to take the first action if you notice a problem with your mates in camp.  For instance, be ready to help fellow campers who may have a problem or are too shy to talk to the supervisors on camp about something that is bothering them. In group sports sessions, ensure your mates are observing all safety protocols and avoid doing things that may lead to injury.

TIP#12: ASK FOR HELP WHEN IN DOUBT

Mistakes can be prevented if campers request help when they are unsure about something. It could be setting up a tent, operating ice-skating equipment, exploring biking trails, or anything else that carries some risk to the camper. Help is always readily available at most campsites and beginners should be willing to ask for it at all times.

TIP#13: OBSERVE MEAL TIMES

It’s important to keep up with meal times so that you don’t go hungry or have to eat cold food at winter camp. A good diet while camping keeps your energy levels optimal and ensures you have all the nutrients you need to fight off cold-weather infections.

TIP#14: MAINTAIN HYGIENE

Personal hygiene is important, especially in a camping environment where you come into contact with many things outside. Always ensure you take a hot shower in the evening or morning, brush your teeth, wash your hands before meals, store dirty clothes, etc.

TIP#15: KEEP YOUR BEDDINGS AND CLOTHING DRY

It’s easy to get your bedding and clothing wet during winter camp which is not ideal especially when it comes to nighttime. Ensure your beddings and clothing are dry and properly insulated from the elements and put away or wash anything wet in your tent or living quarters.

TIP#16: KEEPING WARM AT NIGHT

Recommended Beddings and Clothing

The folks managing Switzerland winter camp for the young ones have taken every step and precaution to ensure everyone sleeps in a warm comfortable environment at night. To be safe, campers should make good use of camp facilities and sleeping items to stay warm and healthy at night. When in doubt, ask for help from any of the supervisors on camp.

TIP#17: USE PERSONAL PROTECTIVE GEAR AT ALL TIMES

se-Personal-Protective-Gear-at-All-Times

Always use personal protective equipment when you are participating in potentially dangerous activities such as ice skating, biking, or mountain climbing. Personal protective gear includes helmets, kneepads, gloves, climbing harnesses, and reflectors. They are usually provided at camp.

TIP#18: WASH YOUR HANDS

Hand washing is very important for everyone at camp especially before and after meals. Your hands could be carrying germs and other harmful substances from your daily activities that can get into your body and make you sick. Make sure you wash them properly before and after meals, after sneezing or blowing your nose, and after touching dirt throughout the day.

TIP#19: MOISTURIZE FREQUENTLY -TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN

Below-freezing temperatures mean your skin will dry up faster than normal which might pose a danger to your health. Take care of your skin by keeping lotion or a moisturizer with you at all times and using it when your skin becomes dry.

TIP#20: DRINK WARM WATER

It’s recommended to drink warm water during weather especially if you are exposed to the elements outdoors. Warm water helps wash viruses and germs from your system and keeps you hydrated.

TIP#21: EXERCISE

Don’t forget to exercise by participating in physical activities during winter camp. Exercise keeps your blood circulation at optimal levels and is generally good for your health.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF WINTER CAMP?

There are many reasons you should consider sending your kids to a Swiss winter camp or attending one if you are a young adult. Here are some of them:

SWITZERLAND IS AN AMAZING WINTER CAMP DESTINATION

There is no doubt that Switzerland is one of the most popular winter holiday destinations in Europe. Every year, thousands of people from around the world visit Switzerland to enjoy its magnificent landscapes, engage in fun activities in the mountains, and take in all the good things this country has to offer.

Visitors are assured that they will be able to enjoy every possible fun and educational activity in Switzerland more than anywhere else in the Schengen area. The swiss alps and numerous winter destinations in Switzerland are among the most popular in the region.

ENJOYING AND LEARNING WITH AGEMATES

Enjoying and Learning with Agemates

Going to winter camp means joining agemates from around the world in a fun-filled environment. Les Elfes is among the top winter camp organizers who welcome kids and young adults from around the world. Experiences and camps are usually divided into age groups for better group dynamics.

WINTER CAMP EXPERIENCES BOOSTS SELF ESTEEM

Going to winter or summer camp is a great way to boost confidence as the attendees get an opportunity to have positive interactions with others in a controlled, safe environment. It doesn’t matter if it’s a brief day camp or a long camp that stretches over the winter. Such experiences have been proven to boost self-esteem among the youth and young kids, especially the shy ones.  

HAVING FUN AND ADVENTURE DURING WINTER CAMP

Perhaps the most attractive thing about going to winter or summer camp is the fun and adventure activities attendees can indulge in. Some examples of winter activities for all age groups visiting Switzerland include:

  • Outdoor adventures- hiking, bird watching, exploration, building snowmen, etc.
  • Ski and Snowboard activities- Camps are usually near a ski resort with professional instructors and safety gear.
  • Sledging
  • Hockey games and other engaging winter sports
  • Igloo building
  • Ice Skating
  • Disco parties
  • Group games and challenges
  • Rock climbing – with instructors and climbing equipment available

Most young adults or kids will be eager to travel if you tell them about their winter camp itinerary. For young adults, it’s a good opportunity to have memorable experiences in Europe’s best winter holiday destination.

LEARNING ACTIVITIES DURING WINTER CAMP

Going to winter camp also presents an opportunity to learn new skills like foreign languages, public speaking, teamwork, storytelling, critical thinking, spelling, basic math, etc. Other winter camps also include more complex learning activities like rock climbing, survival skills, self-defense, emotional intelligence and so much more.

WINTER CAMPS TEACH INDEPENDENCE AND RESPONSIBILITY

An overlooked downside of keeping the young ones in a familiar, “safe” environment is the fact that it eliminates or delays their urge to be independent. They never try new things, take risks or take it upon themselves to accomplish something without supervision. Winter camps are usually about putting them in challenging environments where they can be independent and responsible.