As I sit to write this, I shouldn't be anywhere near a computer...at least that was the plan.
If things had gone according to plan I would still be out at the lake, helping campers prepare to go home this afternoon and starting the final clean before we left tomorrow morning. But obviously things didn't go according to plan.
Things were going very well. So far the only drawback to the week had been that the weather was more like Late August/September than July (a little cool for swimming, much to Sarah's dismay). No real problems with campers, leaders, or programs. We were quite happy. Then things got, well, interesting.
Wednesday night the lifeguard complained he was not feeling well (and looked it too, he was hardly upright). Then at 6:19AM there was a knock on our cabin door "we have to have a meeting, we have 15 sick kids" came the message from one of the leadership team. Turns out the lifeguard was just the first. From 3:00 on the nurse had been getting a steady stream of sick campers. By the time I got to the lodge it was 14, shortly thereafter it was 18 (including 2 of the teen leaders, the lifeguard, one adult leader, the 10 year-old nurses daughter, and the two year-old daughter of another adult leader. Turns out some of the teen leaders had been up since 3 helping kids and cleaning up both vomit and diarhhea. My hat goes off to them--I would have just added my vomit to the pile if I had been doing it.
We turned the craft cabin into the infirmary and moved everyone in there. We were up to 30 at one point I think (and there were just over 100 people on camp). Health unit came to collect some food and water samples and gave us sample containers to send home with the ill in case they expelled more liquids. At first people were worried about food poisoning but in the end we are fairly sure it was a fast acting/spreading bug of some kind. The fellow from the health unit said he wouldn't guess but that it seemed like a staph or a Norwalk-like virus.
The advice we got was that since we had stopped getting new cases about 9:00 we could stay open for the rest of the week but as the planning team we decided it was best to shut down early--mainly because of the fact that we had already lost some leadership to illness (their own or that of their children) and many of the other leaders had gotten little to no sleep-- so all the parents were called, campers collected, and the cleaning done. It was too bad, and a little sad, but also I keep reminding myself that these things happen -- and there is always next year.
More on the Camp experience to follow...
UPDATE: Appears we made the local paper. Not a bad account really. Might have been better to name the fact that most of the ill were feeling better (slightly to much) by the time they left.