Skin Cancer Prevention

In Santa Barbara, kids in summer camps are learning about skin cancer and ways to help prevent it. They are wearing hats, using sunscreen, and seeking shade while having fun on the beach and other outdoor recreational activities. The Cancer Center’s RAYS Program is helping to make this possible.
Today, we know that unprotected exposure to the sun’s rays can increase the risk of skin cancer. Sunburns occurring before the age of 20 are of particular concern. Unlike a tan that fades away, the harmful effects of sun damage are cumulative. Children receive the majority of their lifetime sun exposure by age 18.

RAYS - Raising Awareness Yields Sun Safety is a ten week sun safety program developed by the Cancer Center’s Wellness Department to heighten sun safety awareness and practices amongst children, their parents, and recreation staff. Since 2003, the RAYS Program is offered at over ten to twelve different summer camps. Participating camps receive ten weeks' worth of fun-filled skin cancer prevention curriculum plus hats, sunscreen and shade canopies. Current participants include the Fun-in-the Sun, the Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, and Montecito YMCA’s and the Santa Barbara City Parks and Recreation Department summer day camps.