CAIRO — The Jackie Robinson Boys & Girls Club celebrated the peak of summer with a splash.
Club director Stephen Francis said Wet and Wild Wednesday gave kids in Grady County a chance to get soaked in the sweltering summer heat.
“We had to figure out a way to get these kids wet,” Francis said. “They’re hot, it’s summer, we had to figure out something.”
Kids were entertained with a 20-foot dual water slide, a bounce house, face painting, Italian ice and a grilled hot dog lunch.
Holder Park has been closed for various repairs for two consecutive summers, and Francis said he needed a way for the kids at the Boys & Girls Club to cool off.
“The kids were just dying,” Francis said. “They couldn’t get wet.”
Last year the Boys & Girls Club traveled to Water World in Dothan, Alabama, but using expenses for those kinds of trips every year isn’t a feasible option, the club director said.
Rather than bringing the kids to the water, Boys & Girls Club staff decided to bring the water to the kids.
“We didn’t have to worry about traveling,” said staff member Linda Hines. “We could just make it an awesome day for the kids to get wet.”
The event was originally intended to be held last week just for club members.
With the Boys & Girls Club providing the only way for Cairo residents to enjoy the water this summer, Francis decided to expand admission to all kids in Grady County.
“Instead of having something smaller like we were going to have last week, he went and made it bigger and made everyone have more fun than they were going to have,” said Kaylah Paytee, 9, whose favorite attraction was a homemade Slip ‘N’ Slide made from tarp originally used after Hurricane Michael.
Francis said that by inviting the community, kids may become interested in what the Boys & Girls Club has to offer and could become future members themselves.
Most importantly to club staff, everyone was happy.
“It’s an exciting adventure for kids for the day,” Hines said.