IMBODEN, AR (KAIT) - It is miserably hot outside, and it wouldn't seem like kids could possibly have any fun at all at camp, but one Arkansas church camp is taking several steps to keep kids cool.
I used to love to go to camp. It was warm during the days and cold at night. Of course, that was in Idaho, not Arkansas.
At the Cedar Glade Baptist Camp, near Imboden, all the buildings have air conditioning. This is the last week of summer camp, and although it was really hot, the kids were having a great time, and the staff was working hard to keep them cool
A siren blasts across the recreation area from a counselors megaphone. It's not the heat alarm, it just means it's time to rotate recreation events at camp. This keeps the campers cool and hydrated while playing out in the sun and keeps the staff busy.
Kathy Faulkner heads up the children's programs, so she has to be flexible in her planning. "We do missions and arts and crafts, and we do recreation, so if it gets too hot, we'll just put those children in the arts and crafts and missions in the air conditioning."
That's where many of the kids were on Tuesday--making Frisbees in the air conditioned comfort of the dining hall.
Every building that I saw had an air conditioner including the bunkhouses and the Tabernacle where the day starts out.
Camp Director Jason Lincoln said keeping the kids away from the sodas and sweet drinks is tough. He polled the crowd at morning worship and told them to be sure and get a drink as they left the building where a water jug and cups sat in the shade.
"...'Cause a lot of times kids don't realize they get overheated. They get out having fun and kinda don't pay attention that they get thirsty real easy. "
There are sources of water everywhere around camp, and the campers are urged to drink and then drink some more.
9-year old Tollie Cooper was gulping down a cup of water outside the Tabernacle. I asked her what she was doing to beat the heat.
"I'm drinking water."
"How much water?
"Lots and lots of water."
"Do you drink this much water normally?"
Of course, you can't keep over 200 kids inside all the time, the camp has lots of trees and at the bottom of the hill next to the pool, recreation was in full splash....literally. Another way the campers keep cool, is by playing baseball. But not regular baseball, instead of bases they have pools to jump in. They also have a homemade slippery slide, sponge wars, and bucket relays all augmented by squirt guns and water hoses.
Lincoln says, "We've got kids that hose them down with water hoses the whole time. We just try and make sure they stay wet and cool and try and alleviate the heat as best we can."
They do have a pool, but Lincoln says it is about 90 degrees thanks to all the sun.
They keep a nurse on staff during the weeks they have camps, so they really do the best they can for your kids. And, they looked like they were having a great time.
I'm a little jealous.