LAKE FORT SMITH (KFSM) – For nearly 80 years, the Fort Smith Kiwanis Club has been giving kids who may not otherwise get to go to summer camp, a chance to do just that.
This year, the boys had a special visit from local sheriff’s offices -- but it's not because they were causing trouble.
"There's no curriculum for today -- it's just, [we're] out here to have fun,” Crawford County Sheriff Ron Brown said.
Thursday (July 23) was “Sheriff's Day” at camp. Deputies from Sebastian and Crawford counties, along with both sheriffs, came out for all the outdoor fun.
“The deputies and the law enforcement officers -- we are their friends. We want them to feel comfortable that we are approachable; so here's a great way to come out into this camp that's so great. What a beautiful place to come out here and interact with these children and let them know that 'hey, we're here to help,'" Sebastian County Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck said.
They got to hit the water and learn a little about boating safety. Both sheriffs brought their county boats, and Brown taught his passengers the importance of no wake zones.
Back on dry land, 10-year-old David Stewart said this week, he's had many “firsts” -- getting to shoot a BB gun and use a bow and arrow.
"I've even gotten to go inside that police car… Deputy White also got out his dog which is in the kennel, inside the car,” Stewart said.
All the boys also had the chance to meet Asi, one of the K9s with the Sebastian County Sheriff's Office.
“Conservatively, 15,000 boys have been through camp since 1937,” Camp Director Mike Nichols said.
Nichols said another group of boys will attend the camp next week, and there will be another “Sheriff’s Day.”
*Editor's note: The story that aired on 5NEWS will be posted online when our system begins working again.