By AMANDA KIMBLE
STEPHENVILLE (June 9, 2016) – They have a single agenda. Free, physically active fun for area children.
“We need and want something fun for kids to do in Stephenville and Erath County,” Ivore Garza said.
Ivore, her husband Richardo and a group of parents – with children ranging in age from birth to high school – are organizing a water gun battle at Stephenville City Park. The event, set to take place Saturday, June 18, is open to children of all ages and other community members who are kids at heart.
And the event promises fun for everyone. Timed battles will be held for group of participants that are divided by age, and battle breaks are scheduled between each group.
“We want to make sure the younger kids don’t get trampled,” Ivore said. “There will be family and adult times as well.”
During the break, participants will have the opportunity to fill water guns and participate in other activities spread around the battlefield, which will be located near the Graham Street bridge entrance at City Park. Water guns will be refilled using refill stations with water hoses and tubs and some of the supply being delivered through a water truck on loan from Jay Mills Contracting, according to Ivore.
The fun begins at 4 p.m. and continue until 7:30. A scheduled battle for children in kindergarten-sixth grade begins at 5 p.m., followed by a battle for families beginning at 6 p.m. A battle for everyone seventh grade and older begins at 7.
“We will also have a Camp Gladiator obstacle course, slip and slide, inflatable water slide and yard games,” Ivore said, adding music will play throughout the event and food trucks and vendors are also invited.
Water activities and other physical activities and games are provided at no cost, but food, drinks and vendor merchandise is available for a fee.
But for the organizers, it’s not about making money.
Ivore said she and Richardo have four children who are younger than nine years old, but they have friends with children who are in their preteen and teenage years.
“They need something to do besides run the streets and hang out in pastures,” Ivore said. “There is a big need locally for something focused on kids, things to get their attention and places for them to belong – things other than trips to the park and participating in rec sports. They need a healthy environment where then can interact with their friends.”
Ivore said the group is focused on events and activities that promote a healthy lifestyle, not centered around wireless devices, video games or television sets.
“This is what we do with our own kids,” she said. “We don’t sit inside all day. We use our imaginations, we get outside and run around.”
Ivore said the water gun battle is just the starting point. With community support, the group plans to organize other events in the future.
“We believe providing fun things for families to do together in a healthy environment will create a stronger community and promote positive life experiences for the children of Erath County,” she said. “As parents, we know when kids don’t have something to keep them busy, positive way to expel energy, they tend to get themselves into trouble.”
If the inaugural event proves to be a success in attracting community interest, the group hopes to eventually form a nonprofit organization and offer regularly scheduled events.
More about the battle
Participants in the June 18 event are asked to bring their own water guns, but those that resemble actual firearms will not be permitted. Due to the the amount of waste created, water balloons will not be provided and their use is also discouraged.
Ivore said a small supply of water guns will be provided by sponsors, but there will not be enough for all participants. Sponsors who would like to make a financial contribution for the purchase of water guns and other supplies are invited to take part in the event.
An emergency medical technician will also be available to provide assistance with minor injuries.
Vendors booths will be available, with merchants being asked to donate 10 percent of all sales to help offset the cost of providing security and purchasing materials for the event.
Merchants who would like to peddle their wares or organizations who would like to serve as sponsors are asked to contact Richardo Garza at (254) 459-8254 or via email at Richardo.A.Garza@gmail.com.
Meanwhile, organizers are calling on volunteers to help the event run smoothly. Volunteers will help supervise the children’s play area, monitor water activities to prevent injuries, refill water buckets and monitor the battlefield. Individuals volunteering their time will work in 30-minute shifts and businesses or other organizations are encouraged to bring staff or members to lend a hand to the event.
Anyone interested in volunteering is encouraged to contact Ivore Garza at (940) 367-1375 or via email at Ivore.Garza@gmail.com.
For more information on the event, follow it online.