ANDOVER, Kan. (KAKE) – JAG Gymnastics hosted a free day camp for students at Prairie Creek Elementary on Thursday.
Last week’s tornado damaged the elementary school building. Prairie Creek is not in session this week and the building is closed for the rest of the year.
“We wanted to give affected parents and displaced families the opportunity to manage the things they need and get their children out,” said co-owner Tamra Stanley.
The camp ran from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students cycled through the gymnasium itself, a craft room, and a snack station.
“The building may be gone, but it’s the spirit of Prairie Creek,” Stanley said. “Prairie Creek is still very much alive and vibrant.”
Outback Steakhouse brought lunch for the students, including cheeseburgers, hamburgers, and hot dogs. Stanley said the event would not have been possible without the help of his staff, parents and community volunteers.
“Just creating a day of normalcy for them would be great,” Patrick Glass, owner of Outback Steakhouse.
Stanley said more than 150 students showed up Thursday. From the ball pit to ninja class and between the screams and screams, no one would ever know that the kids’ elementary school had just been hit by a tornado.
Students were also able to redo Mother’s Day crafts for their parents after the ones they had already made were destroyed in the storm.
“Hearing them all laughing and playing, it warms my heart because they’ve all experienced loss,” she said.
She said she wasn’t sure if the kids fully understood why they were at JAG, but the local gymnastics club was happy to provide an escape for the kids and their parents.
“The only thing they can relate to is the love that’s being shown to them right now and just the…the outpouring of the community and everyone who supports them,” Stanley said.
Prairie Creek students are expected to return to school next week. However, $385, Andover, will distribute students to five different sites.