THAYER — The water slide that helped thousands of Chanute swimmers enjoy their summers at the pool is now up and ready for more at Hidden Haven Christian Camp in Thayer.
Hidden Haven has been in Thayer for 65 years and is a church camp for first graders through high school students from independent churches in southeast Kansas and northeast Oklahoma.
“We’re just here to serve all of our kids, teach the Bible and have a good fun week,” Camp Manager Rick Powers said.
The “new” water slide has been in place at the camp’s pool for three weeks, but it was a two-year process to get it there. The camp previously had a smaller pool that was not big enough for the numbers attending the camp. This week, the camp had 111 children and earlier this summer there was a group of 140.
“With this pool, I can split it into two groups and they fit in there easy, but before that it was three groups and that was even crowded,” Powers said.
About two years ago, Powers decided to see if he could get the water slide from the Chanute pool that was closed after serious flooding.
“I knew it was sitting up there, not being used and I approached the Chanute city leaders a couple of years ago and they said they were wanting to dispose of it,” he said. “I asked if they would just donate it to us and they held a meeting and they decided to give it to us.”
The effort to get the slide from Katy Park to Hidden Haven was mostly accomplished by volunteer labor. Powers wanted to especially thank his brother Garold Powers, who has a boom truck and helped move the slide components along with other volunteers. The camp also had to take it to a sandblaster and painter to prepare it for use.
They were finally able to get the slide up this spring and it was ready for use three weeks ago. Those who see the slide in pictures may notice an out of place yellow piece just before the drop into the pool.
“When we got ready to put the last pieces on it wasn’t reaching the pool,” he said. “I went by the drawings and I called Dan McMillan and I said ‘Dan did you guys take a piece out’ and he goes ‘no, I didn’t really watch them when I put it up.’”
It turned out that the slide was shortened from its original length when it was first installed at the Chanute pool.
“So, we scrambled around and called the company that originally sold it to Chanute and they gave us the name of a guy over in Monett, Mo., and we called him and he said, ‘I think I’ve got what you guys need.’ That yellow piece was what we needed to reach the pool.”
Powers said the children who attend the camp love the water slide.
“I want to say a big thank you to the City of Chanute and the people of Chanute. This was a blessing to us,” he said. “This is something that we could not have afforded, probably, on our own. Just to pay for the pool was over $100,000.”
Though the camp primarily caters to independent churches, area children are welcome.
“There will be kids from the surrounding towns like Chanute, and they may go to camp too far away and their parents don’t like that. They know we’re close.”
Those interested in more information on the camp can visit hiddenhavenchristiancamp.com for more information, or call the camp at (620) 839-5525.