A lot has changed since Margo Pruitt first moved into the Canyon as the Echo Valley nurse in the summer of 1996. Her husband, Chandler, was in his second year as the Echo Valley director, and she was pregnant with their third child, with a toddler and a baby under wing. Pruitt spent the summer caring for campers and laying the groundwork for what would become a gold standard among youth camp medical programs.
“There wasn’t anything but a box of Band-Aids when I walked in,” Pruitt jokes.
At the time, Echo Valley and Singing Hills each had one nurse who watched over the 300 and 170 campers, respectively, for the entire summer with limited resources and few protocols in place. Now, each camp has a rotational schedule of registered nurses who spend one or two weeks at a time in the clinic. College-aged healthcare assistants are assigned to each clinic for the entire summer to provide continuity as the nurses rotate. A camp doctor is always on call in the Canyon, rotating every week.
Over the course of 25 years, Pruitt has developed two well-stocked clinics, a thorough camp nursing manual with clear policies and procedures, and a roster of reliable healthcare practitioners—many of whom return to the Canyon each summer to serve. Each cabin is equipped with a first aid kit, and the clinics have a pharmacy of basic prescription and over-the-counter medicines to treat common illnesses.
When campers arrive on the first day of each session, the RN checks in each child’s medication personally and meets with the camper’s parents. All medications are kept locked in the clinics and are distributed by the medical staff only. Records of campers’ physicians and dentists or orthodontists are also kept in each clinic.
“We’re telling kids about Christ and how to have a relationship with him, so we want the clinic to be a place that’s really reflective of that—kind, servant-hearted, loving the kids, making them comfortable, and making sure that they’re cared for,” Pruitt said. “We want that to be an extension of the big mission of what we’re trying to do with kids—that relationship-based ministry.”