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Summer camps prepare to return at Paragould retreat center

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 5:46 PM CDT
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PARAGOULD, Ark. (KAIT) - Almost one year ago, the summer camps held at the Ridge Retreat and Adventure Center in Paragould were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But this year, the camps are preparing for a comeback.

“We’re excited to have the kids back this summer we have a lot of new things,” said Gary Money, director of the Ridge Center.

While the pandemic silenced the noise of children running around the camp, it was replaced by the noise of construction.

“Last year was kind of quiet, as far as not having kids out,” Money said. “But we got a lot of construction stuff done.”

The Retreat Center has invested millions of dollars in expanding and upgrading its facilities.

The work included a new central building, new cabins, as well as a bridge that connects the center to the ranch across the pond.

Officials say it will provide more space for the post-pandemic camps.

“We are doing our best to be as cautious as we can be this summer,” said Micah Brinkley, executive director of Children’s Homes, the organization that owns the center.

Brinkley says they’re doing this by making sure nurses are constantly with children, as well as having a quarantine cabin should it be needed.

“So that we will be able to deal with these issues continuing with the virus or anything else that may come up that we have a nurse on staff that can handle those things for us,” Brinkley said.

The Ridge also said that they’ve already been able to use the expanded space by hosting meetings for the Paragould Leadership Council.

The group also plans on continuing reaching out beyond summer camps, to businesses and organizations as well.

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