Safety Camp adds play to safety education

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Learning safety isn't always all fun and games, but it can be.

Hastings' incoming third- through fifth-graders participated in a day of safety education and fun put on by the Hastings Parks and Recreation Department.

Safety Camp, held June 20, allowed children to interact with local authorities from the Hastings Police and Fire departments, all while learning different aspects of safety and playing games.

"It's a good way to get kids outside and active," Phil Vargas, sports and recreation coordinator for Hastings Parks and Recreation department, said. "They learn different safety aspects and it's good exposure to what the fire and police departments do. They also get to interact with firefighters and police officers so that makes them more comfortable to approach them if they need help."

The camp is an eight-hour, one-day event. Throughout the day the kids engaged in activities that taught them basic road and fire safety, electrical safety and self-defense. Kids also got a lesson in what the K-9 unit does for HPD.

The kids started the biggest part of their their day by rotating between road safety, fire safety and safety themed game stations.

Bike Rodeo Basics

The road safety station, led by school resource officer Ryan Kline, also included bike safety. For the station, known as the Bike Rodeo, children brought their own bikes and went through different obstacle courses that were designed to teach them road basics.

One particular exercise taught the kids to stop their bikes when approaching a stop sign. Another was designed to teach kids how to look over their shoulder while riding a bicycle in a straight line.

It's important, Vargas said, for them to learn their road and bike safety now due to the season. "It's good for them to learn this stuff because this is what they will be doing this summer— riding around on their bikes and being outside," Vargas said.

Fire safety and a history lesson

For fire safety, the kids participated in three lessons. They toured a firetruck, while learning what equipment the firefighters use. The fire department also brought in a fire house, so that the kids could practice exiting a building and helping each other out when there is smoke in a room.

The station was finished up with a relay — passing a bucket of water from the starting point to a bucket at the end of the line. The catch? The bucket being passed had small holes in it so that water would be leaking out as it got passed. The objective was to fill the bucket at the end of the line full enough to make a floating ball fall out of the bucket.

The purpose of the game was to teach kids about how fires used to be put out before fire hoses came around.

Also there to have fun

The third station was more for the fun — a variety of safety-themed games.

One game was an interesting mix of traffic lights and cornhole. Each light (red, yellow and green) was assigned points and the kids, separated into teams, threw bean bags on the lights to get the most points.