Community rallies behind safetyMembers from the community of Hastings gathered together to put on a safety camp for children entering third grade through fifth grade.
By: Katie Thomas, The Hastings Star-Gazette
Members from the community of Hastings gathered together to put on a safety camp for children entering third grade through fifth grade.
The all-day camp took place on July 26 with 96 kids participating. This is the fourth year the safety camp has taken place. Each participant received a goodie bag, water bottle, t-shirt, certificate, lunch, and a snack.
“The camp is really a great value for parents,” said Jared Flewellen, Recreation Coordinator. “For $15 the kids get all the goodies and get to do a lot of activities.”
The Hastings Fire Department gave campers a tour of the fire truck, giving campers the chance to climb in the fire truck, ask firefighters questions, and take a closer look at the tools they use.
Campers also went through an escape simulation. The mobile fire house was brought to the Hastings High School. Campers climbed to the top level of the house. Fire fighters explained the importance of having a meeting spot to the kids.
Once the fire alarm went off, vegetable oil smoke began to fill the room. One at a time, campers escaped through the window and down the ladder. Campers met at their meeting spot to make sure everyone was accounted for.
“We talked about having a meeting place picked out in case there was a fire,” said Katie Peine, safety camp participant. “If there wasn’t a meeting spot we wouldn’t know if other family members were safe or not. They also taught us how to crawl on our tummies because there is less smoke by the floor.”
Hastings Police discussed bike safety with campers. Campers were taught the different hand signals to indicate which direction they were turning and the safe way to cross intersections and driveways.
After learning the hand signals and correctly putting a helmet on, campers rode through an obstacle course. Along the course, kids were tested on correctly stopping at stop signs and signaling.
“Camp has been a lot of fun,” said Annalise Chapdelaine. “My mom asked if I wanted to do the safety camp. I’m glad that I decided to (go to camp).”
The Hastings Area YMCA discussed camping safety with campers and also how to put up a shelter out of a tarp.
Campers also went through an internet safety course with Bob Joiner from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Joiner covered how to safely search online and how kids can protect their personal information. Joiner went on to talk about ways to avoid seeing inappropriate material online.
Lunch was provided by Subway and campers took a break to play games and have a dance party.
As campers headed outside, a State Trooper Helicopter flew in and landed at the Hastings High School. State Trooper Dave Willar explained that the state of Minnesota has nine state trooper pilots and three helicopters.
Trooper Willard discussed different elements of the helicopter such as the FLIR camera. Trooper Willard explained that the FLIR detects different temperatures and relays them to the helicopter. The FLIR is used to find lost kids, adults, hiding criminals, and suicide victims.
Trooper Willard also took the time to answer questions from the audience and also to allow kids to walk around the helicopter and take a closer look.
Hastings Canine Officer Mike Schmitz brought Ozzie, the 15-month-old police K9 to demonstrate the way the department can use Ozzie.
Police Investigator Craig Nowlan played the bad guy and began to run away from Ozzy. On Officer Schmitz’s command Ozzie brought Investigator Nowlan to the ground and did not release him until instructed to do so.
Officer Schmitz explained to campers that Ozzy lives with him and his family full time.
“Ozzy is not a mean dog,” Officer Schmitz told campers. “He is trained to bite on command and to hold until he is commanded to let go. Ozzy and I have guidelines and rules that we have to follow, just like everyone else. There are only certain situations when Ozzy will be commanded to bite.”
Campers were also visited by the Como Zoo, which talked about ways in which campers can help keep animals safe and off the endangered species list.
At the end of camp, each camper was given the opportunity to shoot the fire hose.
Sponsors of the safety camp included Hastings Community Education, Hastings Fire, Hastings Police, Parks and Recreation Departments, Hastings Area YMCA, and Subway.