BENTON, Ky. (July 26, 2022) – Throughout the summer, park rangers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District visit Camp Currie each Monday to discuss water safety measures, and to educate the next generation of recreation goers.
Camp Currie, located on the shores of Kentucky Lake, is one of three conservation camps educating approximately 4,500 children between grades 4-6 each year. The camp has operated since 1949 and is run by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. In 2012, the Lake Barkley park rangers began visiting Camp Currie as part of their environmental outreach efforts and educating about 2,000 children a season. Additionally, the rangers use this opportunity to teach water safety elements, such as properly fitting a life jacket and not entering the water with a person who is in distress, since it increases the risk of drowning for both people.
“Our main goal is to ensure these kids are able to take away the basics,” said Wes Davenport, Lake Barkley park ranger.
According to the Centers of Disease Control, approximately 3,960 people drown yearly. These deaths are preventable. Education and awareness can go a long way in preventing drowning deaths, which is why it is so important for the park rangers to attend Camp Currie. Davenport candidly admits children in this age range may not remember the different types of personal floatation devices and said, “We are content knowing they know how to put them on properly.”
While May is designated as Water Safety Month, water safety measures are emphasized throughout the year. Regarding water safety education efforts, the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council’s website stated, “Participation not only saves lives, but it helps promote the safe enjoyment of swimming to future generations.”
The impact on future generations is clear and immediate. “It is not uncommon throughout the year to encounter these kids, either in our parks or at other safety events, that ask if you remember them from Camp Currie.” He continued, “Generally that child can answer most of the questions asked about what they learned, even years later.”
Davenport and other park rangers have solidified their commitment to educating the children who attend Camp Currie. Davenport said, “Our goals for the future are to continue to attend the camp and provide safety messages to these kids.”
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.