SCOTTSVILLE – The Center for Courageous Kids was in a state of controlled chaos for about 30 minutes Sunday as children at the camp, counselors and volunteers from Western Kentucky University’s football team splashed one another with shaving cream, pudding and other kinds of assorted goop.
Sarah Keltner, the camp’s communications director, said it was the first time WKU’s football team had participated in the Messy Games.
“It means a lot to have that college come on, especially the guys from the football team,” she said. “They showed up with all this enthusiasm.”
The Messy Games, which Keltner described as “basically one large outdoor food fight,” is a camp staple.
“When you come, you know that Messy Games is going to be a part of the experience,” she said. “The kids absolutely look forward to it every single week that they come.”
The Center for Courageous Kids runs for nine weeks each summer, hosting a different group of children with disabilities and life-threatening illnesses each week, Keltner said.
Sunday’s Messy Games were a part of the camp’s week for children with physical disabilities and Down syndrome. The camp is free for the campers’ families.
Kyle Neaves, WKU’s associate athletic director for athletic communications/media relations, said the football team has become more involved in community service since Mike Sanford took over as head coach in 2016.
“One of his priorities is community service,” Neaves said. “The team has contributed a lot more hours with Coach Sanford.”
For the Messy Games, the center of the camp was divided into four stations that four teams made up of campers, their siblings and WKU football players cycled through. At each station, the campers got to assault their counselors, WKU players and one another with handfuls of shaving cream, buckets of colorful slime and squirt guns filled with colored water.
After taking a moment to stand under a continuous stream of water the Scottsville Fire Department provided to rinse away much of the goop covering him, WKU redshirt senior offensive tackle Matt Nord said he hoped he could come back for another Messy Games while he’s still a member of the team.
“It was great to see the kids cut loose and have fun,” he said. “Everyone on the team had a good time.”
Sophomore quarterback Steven Duncan said he was surprised by how messy the event got, adding that team members weren’t told much about it until they got to the camp.
“I knew it was going to be messy, but I didn’t know it was going to be this messy,” he said.
While he has experience doing community service work with the team, the Messy Games are unlike anything else he’s done, Duncan said. “This is probably the most different and fun community service we’ve done,” he said.
Duncan said he appreciated the chance to play with the campers and help them have a fun camping experience, he said.
“I think it makes me and the team more excited, to let them do stuff they don’t normally get to do,” he said. “That was the best part.”
– Follow reporter Jackson French on Twitter @Jackson_French or visit bgdailynews.com.