Bed bugs infest cabins at 6th grade Outdoor School

Bed bugs send sixth grade campers home early

6th grade camp counselors take picture before being sent home for bed bug infestation.

Olivia Dixon

6th grade camp counselors take picture before being sent home for bed bug infestation.

Sixth-grade Outdoor School was canceled halfway through the week of Aug. 28-31, and kids and high school counselors sent home when a cabin was found to have bed bugs.

Worried that it would spread to other kids, and counselors the teachers had to make the decision to send everyone home.

Sarah Dixon, sophomore Orange Fox cabin counselor, said she was very upset for the kids.

“When I heard the news we were going to be going home I felt very upset for the kids because I didn’t want them to miss out on any fun opportunities camp brings,” said Dixon.

Not wanting to go home was a very common feeling among high school counselors. For Margo Nelson sophomore, said she did not want to go home because she was stressed with work and didn’t want to miss activities at camp.

“I was very upset because I was looking forward to sharing the outdoor educational experience with the girls in my cabin, and I was stressed out because I had to turn in all my school work the next day that I was planning to do over the 3 day weekend when I would get home,” said Nelson.

Although many people were upset about the camp being canceled Southwest Middle School Camp Director Katy Phillips thought it was a necessary decision for the safety for the camp. She described finding out the news as “gut-sinking.”  

A lot of the girls were awake and in the lobby space of the cabin around 11:30 at night, which was unusual.  We walked inside and Katie Pilas, the cabin leader of cabin 9, said that the girls found ticks in their beds.  At that point, my gut sank, because I knew that if there were in fact bugs in the bed, they wouldn’t be ticks. My first thought after seeing them was that I couldn’t let these girls continue to sleep in this cabin,” said Phillips.

Phillips said she knows she did the right thing when she canceled camp.

“The safety of my students is my number one priority.  I didn’t feel good about putting my kids back into cabins without being 100 percent sure that they were bed bug free.  I have absolutely no regrets about returning home when we did,” said Phillips.

Phillips said those 6th graders who were supposed to be at camp that week will still be able to return later on in the year.

“With the help of the YMCA staff and the district, the Explorers will be returning to Outdoor School the week of April 9-12th,” said Phillips.

Hearing this news made Dixon feel ecstatic.

“When I found out that I was gonna be able to be a counselor again I was ecstatic to get another chance to share the Outdoor School experience,” said Dixon.