Farm Camp teaches kids lifelong lessons about safety

By Marshanna Hester

June 23, 2012 Updated Jun 23, 2012 at 10:09 PM CDT

GALESBURG, Ill. -- Experiencing a fire can be scary and dangerous. But kids are attacking it head on.

"It was just cool because it was, I was putting a fire out so that was pretty cool," said Kaden Johnson, Farm Camp participant.

It's all part of the Knox County Farm Safety Camp for Just Kids, but don't let the name fool you.

It's not just farm safety. Learning how to use a fire extinguisher is part of the course too.

"I know we make a difference because I hear kids talk about things they learned here or they'll come up to me and say, you're that farm safety guy," said Pat Hennenfent, Camp Chairman.

Hennenfent is the chairman of the camp and has been since it started in 1995.

He says word of mouth about the camp's success led to a record-number of 138 kids this year.

Hennenfent says safety education is especially important to him.

"When I was in high school there was a kid I knew from 4-H who was killed in a farm accident," he said.

And, parents learn too. The camp covers electrical safety and what they can do to make their homes safer.

Demonstrators encourage kids to hold their parents accountable, including using cell phones while driving.

"I'm sure we're going to hear about it the first minute we touch a cell phone while behind the wheel," said parent Scott Sunderland. "We're going to have a household inspection of all outlets."

Parents say besides the message, the best part about the camp is that it's free.

Organizers collect donations to operate and this year that amount was $6,000, money well spent to keep Central Illinois families and kids safe.

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