Leech Advisory

Greetings, campers of Camp Golden Oak! I hope you’re having the time of your life this summer!

Now, we’ve had some heavy rain lately, I hope you’ve had fun with your extra time in the arts and craft room and are ready to go out and have fun! This week’s activities will include more nature hikes through the woods and seeing who will be the first camper to climb to the top of the rock wall this summer!

However, part of the rain means the ground is quite muddy, and although they usually stick to the marshes, the leeches love to go exploring when the ground’s like this. Don’t worry! Leeches are nothing to be scared of! They’re a part of nature, just like the raccoons we see reclining around the dumpster behind the cafeteria. Here are some things you can do to make sure you don’t get hurt:

1- Wear long pants and tennis shoes, tucking your pants into your socks. It looks silly, but it prevent the leeches from hooking onto your skin! If it’s too warm to wear a jacket, don’t worry about it, but some of the leech species around here can drop from the trees and land on your arms and neck. You’ll feel them a bit quicker, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

2- If you find a leech on your body, don’t panic! First, call for your counselor. If they are a distance away, determine if the leech has bit into your skin. You shouldn’t be able to feel it. Give them a quick tug, if they come right off, then place them on the ground and wait for your counselor to come and identify the type.

3- If the leech has attached itself to you, remember, do not panic. Wait for your counselor. Do not attempt to remove it by yourself.

4- Once your counselor has removed and identified the leech, you will either be taken to the main office where Mrs. Bram will clean off the wound and send you on your way, or to Chef in the cafeteria. Some of the leeches around here have some nasty germs in their mouths, but Chef knows exactly how to clean up the wound so you don’t get sick!

5- Remember to tell your counselor immediately if you find a leech on your body. Don’t be embarrassed if it’s crawled somewhere that is covered by a bathing suit, we’re here to help. If any young women are too embarrassed to have the Chef take care of their leech bite, then Mrs. Bram will do her best to treat it.

Thank you very much! Reminder that all horse related activities are suspended with the trails being in the condition that they’re in. Be safe out there, campers, and remember to have fun!

-Mr. and Mrs. Louis Bram

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Counselors of Camp Golden Oak,

I hope you’re having a good time. I’m proud of each and every one of you for taking care of your campers, you’re all doing a great job. A special shout out to Margaret Wyler for handling the situation last week with the Lost Camper, you immediately took action and proceeded calmly and efficiently, and because of that you may have saved a child’s life.  

The leech infestation has invaded the main camp ground rather than just sticking to the marsh as usual. The heavy rain and high winds are likely to blame. Although this means we’ll likely have a reprieve from the Lost Campers as they seem to have a distaste for harsh weather, it means we have to be on our A Game when it comes to these leeches.

If a camper tells you there is a leech stuck to them, immediately call your other campers to your presence and have them check themselves over for any parasites. Examine the child in question and the leech.

1- Is the leech brown/black, possibly with darker patterns on its skin? Immediately remove the leech, try to be gentle as to not hurt your camper, and dispose of it by sprinkling it in salt and putting it in a dry place. If you have your partner counselor with you, the rest of the campers can stay with them as you take the bitten camper to the main office. My wife will clean the wound and calm them down. There is nothing to worry about.  

2- Is the leech gray or white, with either red patterns on its back or what look like green boils in its skin? Do not panic. Put on your gloves, take the salt you should have in your first aid kit and sprinkle some on its back. It should immediately detach, but careful! It’ll try to make a run for it and they are quick. Grab it and crush it beneath your foot multiple times until its black blood soaks the ground. Do not attempt to crush one if you’re not wearing shoes or only wearing flip flops, use the first aid kit if you have to. Once it’s destroyed, have your partner counselor bury the remains in salt.  

3- Immediately after killing the infected leech, have your partner counselor look over each of the children while you take the bitten one to the cafeteria. Chef will likely be in the kitchens preparing the next meal or he’ll be putting together a puzzle in his private quarters. Loudly knock three times on his door before entering and explain the situation.  

4- Treating one of these leech bites is extremely painful for the one bitten. It involves burning the bite wound and spreading on some herbs that burn even more than the flame. Even though it might be frightening, please stay there for the camper. Hold their hand and remind them it will be okay. You might see something drip from the wound that is not blood, that means the treatment is working. I’d advise not looking though, it isn’t pleasant to see.

5- Once the bite has been purged, take the child back to the cabin and put them for bed rest for a few days. The wound may have been purged but infected leeches will be attracted to the bite mark left by another of their kind. It’s better to have them rest up while they heal. We have coloring books and materials in the office, request them for your laid up camper so they have something to occupy their time with. If they have to go outside, make sure they wear long sleeves and pants so the scent of their blood is at least partially masked.

6- There are some times when your campers do not tell you when they have been bitten by a leech. You must stay on high alert, especially after tramping through muddy trails or if you stray too close to the marsh. Do not be ashamed if the latter happens, this may be a huge campground but even I find myself walking towards the marsh on days my mind wanders. Keep your eyes open for:

*Leech bites, they should bleed quite a bit and they’ll have a triangular shape if they’re fresh. If they’ve aged a bit, they’ll probably closer resembled a mosquito bite. Have Chef look at a bite you find suspicious, particularly if your camper is acting shifty about it.  

*Your camper experiencing a combination of any of the following symptoms- insomnia, seeming to mentally ‘check out’ during activities, irritability, rashes on their necks and/or wrists, skin going pale, vomiting, sleep walking, reckless behavior, random bouts of uncontrollable and unexplainable giggling, reddening of the eyes and bleeding of the gums.  

*Your camper purposely distancing themselves from you but watching your every move intently.

*Your camper daring others to either kiss them or drink their blood.

*Your camper trying to attach leeches to others.  

If caught early enough, Chef can still expel the poison and the child will be fine, although they’ll likely have to be sent home early with how exhausted they’ll be from the ordeal.  

However, and I cannot stress this enough, if the infected camper attempts to attack another one of your campers, your priority is the healthy campers. Do what you have to do to not to let others get bitten. The transmission is much more effective when going from human to human. If the infected camper runs off to the marshes, let them go. The Lost Campers do not tolerate Infected Campers, and if the Infected Camper manages to fight them off, Chef will make sure it’s handled.  

If the worst happens, you will not be blamed. I’ve personally interviewed each and every one of you. I know I can trust you with the safety of your campers, and if we escape this wet summer with only one or two Infected Campers, I’ll consider it a good year. You can do all you can and there might be one that slips through the cracks.  

May the Wild’s God protect us this summer,

Mr. Louis Bram.