Road to a Better Community: Day camp helps kids unplug

Craig O'Neill has the story behind a family farm in Malvern that's been bringing adventure and faith to kids for years

MALVERN, Ark. (KTHV) – You know when we talk about THV in Your Town, you probably think about things that go on inside the city limits.  But now, in Malvern's case, if you take the ‘Road to a Better Community,’ you'll get to someplace just outside of town that is fascinating.

What's so fascinating?

First of all, the place is covered in kids, but not one of them is looking at a phone. And the kids don't seem to mind it. 

"We have 250 kids that fish all day long."

Stan, better known as ‘Daddy May’ says they have come a long way since 1985.  

“Well it started off with Mamma May and I with the counselors. We had eight kids and two of ‘em were ours.”

What started as 22 acres is now over 40 of nonstop activities.

“We try to add something every year and make it better.”

And in the center of it all, they have regular worship services, both inside and outside.

Not bad for two school teachers now retired, who had been inspired by a summer camp they once attended sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Adventure mixed with structure seems to work pretty well, and Mamma May is pretty adamant about that no phones thing.

The campers come from several counties surrounding the area, as well as Texas.

“Kids get to be kids and they're not ruled by all these gadgets bless their hearts…too much power. There's too much power in their hands,” said Mamma May.

There’s no streaming, just regular old streams. No apps, but there is a lap. No Snapchat, just bait check. And no Facebook, just the good book.

“Well Craig, the Bible itself it says bring the young people teach ‘em. When they grow old, they'll not depart from it,” said Stan.


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