Oscar Jackson campers canoe, swim and play in Spring Creek

Published 6:20 pm Friday, July 15, 2016


There’s a popular belief that kids these days don’t like going outside.

They’d rather be indoors, exercising their thumbs on Playstation controllers, or vegging out in front of a computer screen.

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The belief that all the entertainment a kid needs is in his backyard, made by God and already assembled in the rivers and woods and fields, seems to ring quieter and quieter every passing summer.

Tell that to Jack Henson.

Henson clutched a stick tied to a rope dangling over Spring Creek. George Hunt and Charles Price pulled him back by his ankles, trying to give him enough of a swing to launch him out over the water for a backflip.

When they couldn’t bring him back any farther on the sandy bank, they let go. Henson swung, feet narrowly missing the water as he rotated backwards. In one swift motion, his legs were in the air and his head was pointing at the water. Then he finished the flip, splashing into the cold creek.

Jack erupted from the water and slung his wet hair out of his face. “That was awesome!”

The Oscar Jackson Camp gives Bainbridge kids all the tools to have fun outdoors. Those old beliefs about kids belonging outdoors in the summer are fulfilled.

It turns out they just needed the right camp to get them there.

Thursday morning didn’t start at the rope swings. Ten kids and a group of counselors took off about 45 minutes north of the Brinson Bridge and paddled their way in canoes down river.

Splash wars were waged and races were had. By the time everyone got to the rope swings, they were already wet.

The campers tried every possible method to get as much air on their swings as possible. Running starts ended with faces in the water, so Michael Rich decided to hold the rope and have someone run, jump and let their inertia carry them out over the water.

Logan Rich tried first, and he got enough speed to takeoff out over the water. Now everyone wanted to give it a shot.

Thirty minutes flies by like 30 seconds, and everyone is back in their canoes to finish the trip.

“Do you think there are snakes down there?”

“Splash him!”

“Not that way, there’s too many branches.”

“I think we’re stuck.”

Any question or observation a kid between the age of 6 and 13 had, chances are it was said.

Zach Burdick talked about his love of swimming while navigating his canoe between the fallen trees in the creek. Will McRae laughed as his canoe sped past others and gave commands to Henson and counselor Grayson Graham to take the more daring paths.

After reaching Brinson Bridge, loading up the canoes and splashing in the water for a few more minutes, they loaded on a bus and headed back to the launch spot. Waiting for them, hot and fresh out of the fryer, was catfish and French fries.

Nothing satiates a kid’s hunger after a day of canoeing and swimming like catfish and French fries.

Who says kids don’t play outside anymore?