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'We're ready for it': Summer camps take extra precautions as record heat persists

While some are keeping cool by staying inside, many are on the move. Parents say safety is top of mind, as their kids get more frequent breaks in the shade.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As temperatures hit record highs this week, free cooling stations across Metro Louisville are open for folks who need relief.

But as of Tuesday afternoon, WHAS11 found out the demand to use them has been relatively low to this point. We called several of the eight designated Neighborhood Place locations. They told us there hasn't been an influx of people coming in yet, but noted it's still early.

Meanwhile, while many families choose to stay inside during the heat wave, others are on the move with the start of multiple summer camps this week.

Parents like Jacqueline McAtee are opting to take their safety measures outside with them and their kids.

"The weather was kind of a concern, but we brought our water. We've got ice, we got towels, we're ready for it," she said. 

McAtee and others kept a watchful eye on their children, as a large group participated in a free tennis clinic at Auburndale Park. It's a first-year camp sponsored by Councilwoman Amy Holton Stewart (D-25).

Parents say safety is top of mind, as their kids got more frequent breaks in the shade than usual to catch their breath and hydrate.

"It's a lot of off and on because we were concerned with the heat advisories we were getting," McAtee said. "We're watching for cues because sometimes when kids are having fun, you can't be sure that they're not overheating, so we have to pull them aside and just double-check."

Then, farther north at Baxter Square in the Russell neighborhood, the Be Your Own Leader (BYOL) campers kicked off their summer. The first-year camp -- created through partnership between MOLO Village outreach and Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) -- is bringing activities to more than 40 kids for a month-long program.

Teacher and counselor Marisa Hall said they have strict rules in place when the heat index gets this high, going through repeated cycles of play and rest.

"They'll play for 15 minutes, and then we'll take about 10 minutes for them to sit down and drink their water," Hall said. "They are mandatory because I don't want anyone falling down on my watch."

"We have self control. We can trust each other," Camp director Michelle Pennix said.

Relief from the sun is coming in different ways for the community, but we're learning some are choosing to stay busy despite the heat.

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