Living as a Leader,  Summer Camp

Hydrate or Die

“Hydrate or Die” are simple, direct and memorable words we told our staff this past Sunday in our morning staff meetings. They reminded us all of the importance of assuring that both staff and campers had plenty of water during the incredible heat wave we just experienced.

All summer long we remind our staff of the importance of rehydrating themselves and their campers as they go through their active days. But when the temperatures and humidity reach “heat alert” levels then our language becomes stronger and more insistent – we tell our staff “hydrate or die”.

We know it’s a little hyperbole but there’s truth in these words. If you’re exposed to high temperatures for long periods of time without taking in enough water there’s a risk of serious health issues.

So we give our staff a phrase that will stick with them, reminding them of the important job of taking care of themselves and their campers during a heat wave as the one we just had.

Of course there’s more to taking care of staff and campers in a heat wave than just pithy sayings. We made adjustments to the camp schedule to assure campers were in the water as much as possible. Also we made sure drinking water’s available at activity and housing areas so that campers and staff were never far from something to drink. Also small groups met in the shade and in our Indiana overnight camp we made sure campers slept in air conditioning.

But it’s the power of strong and memorable words that stick with us which provide the guidance and motivation to do the right things in any situation. It’s why leaders create, borrow and use such statements while leading others.

So remember “hydrate or die” as you enjoy your summer season.

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