WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A new year means a fresh start.
That’s a motto leaders at Camp Fire in Wichita Falls are embracing in 2021, and why the group’s leaders were able to make reopening their doors a reality.
Temperature checks and spacing requirements are just some of the measures that Camp Fire has adopted to ensure the safety of its students. It’s been tough, but after many months of closed doors, the group’s leaders said all of the hard work has been worth it.
Camp Fire’s legacy in Wichita Falls as a place where kids are free to learn, grow and make friends traces its roots all the way back to 1910, something Executive Director Bettye Ricks said she was not going to give up on.
“March 16 was the last day of our Camp Fire program that we had our Camp Fire program. It was a shock to all of us,” Ricks said. “It was very depressing when we didn’t have our children for a while.”
When the organization had to close its doors in March due to COVID-19, its members took action by preparing for a safe re-opening.
“I know we are a good resource for so many people. Even if we only get to see the kids one or two days a week,” District Director Kordola Rodriguez said. “It is something that so many kids look forward to because they need that time to unwind from school. And still, learn something.”
Rodriguez said making sure families knew Camp Fire was still there for them was the number one priority.
“We never turn anyone away,” Rodriguez said. “Whether they can pay or not. We always strive for that. Every child that would like to come, we give them the opportunity.”
And after many months of planning and organizing, Ricks said she is just happy her kids are back.
“To not have to worry about this virus, and just have our lives go back to our normal schedules all the time,” Ricks said.
Each day the organization picks up children from 21 different local schools and takes them to Harrell Park where they are able to play with friends and make memories, all in a safe, supervised environment.