Camp Augusta takes the risks present at camp seriously, and we work to minimize them as we can, but we also recognize and facilitate the undertaking of activities where the risk of injury is present and generally more likely than life at home, sometimes significantly.
In relation to children, risk seekers are healthier human beings than risk avoiders. When children are put in a bubble with low risk, they end up seeking it at some point, often with a greater thirst, and in situations that don't offer safety valves. For example, one of the most dangerous things a teenager might do is get in a car with 2 or more teenagers in it without an adult, especially at night, and especially again on a weekend. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death in teenagers, with 5000 deaths and 250,000 injuries, yearly (The Week, 10/16/09). Learning to deal with risk is as important as learning to eat healthy and exercise. In some ways, it is more important, as children and teenagers die not from poor health habits, but from poor abilities to manage risk. At Camp Augusta, we aim to provide a lot of opportunities to explore and learn to deal with risky situations. We cannot guarantee zero injuries at the same time, but we try and keep the injuries to non-long-lasting ones.
Over time, our most serious camper injury has been a 3rd degree burn from a camper sitting on a hand-crank ice cream machine in 100 degree weather. She was 16 years old, asked several times if she was okay, and she said she was absolutely fine. Frost bite on a hot day did not seem likely, and the not-young camper emphatically said she was fine. We have had broken bones (a few every summer), chipped teeth, abrasions, minor puncture wounds, mostly first degree burns, small lacerations, stitches, sprains, stings, poison oak, bruises, concussions, as well as many other injuries. The most common injuries by far, summer after summer, are abrasions, small cuts, sprains, broken bones, and bruises.
The clinic activities that have more significant risks are setup with a level-based system, so that campers have more skill when doing more risky activities. For example, fire-spinning campers must pass through levels that test whether they can spin the staff, poi, or dart without hitting themselves. Also, brief contact with the flame does not burn. Some counselors will light the bottom half of a staff by grabbing the top, lit portion and then touch the bottom portion while their hand is briefly on fire; they are fine.
If you have questions about any of our activities, or anything in regard to safety at camp, please do not hesitate to call us.