Kids in Blue Creek were able to participate in the 2015 Adams County Junior Deputy Boot Camp hosted by Sheriff Kimmy Rogers and the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.
The program is in its third year and is aimed at drug prevention for children ages 5 to 16. The program includes two days of activities followed by a graduation ceremony and cookout the following day.
Participants travel throughout four stages each of the two days which include an obstacle course, team-building activities, animal exhibits, fire department demonstrations and other activities.
Rogers said he believes the program has helped a few kids in the two years prior in preventing drug abuse.
“We try to pound it into them just how dangerous this stuff is,” Rogers said. “We have a woman from the health department come out with pictures of candy and prescription pills and kids get to pick and choose which ones they think are which.”
One of the topics Rogers really tries to hit home is that if children find a backpack laying out in the woods or an open field to be cautious, as they potentially could contain supplies for cooking meth.
“One of the things we do is show them a backpack and ask the kids what they should do if they find one outside that doesn’t belong to them,” Rogers said. “Most kids say, ‘Take it to lost and found, take it to a teacher or parent,’ but we teach them to not touch it because 75 percent of the meth labs we find are found in backpacks. A lot of people will keep all their ingredients in their backpack and sometimes they’ll leave it out in the woods or something and a kid will come along and find it.”
Rogers said the program is aimed at stomping out drug use at an early age, especially with the amount of money the county spends related to drug abuse.
“We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in Adams County on adults who have been using drugs for over 20 years,” Rogers said. “I think we’ve proven that waiting until someone is already addicted is not the best way to go about this drug problem. It’s like the guy going down Route 32 at 100 mph and once he hits a tree then everyone wants to go help him instead of slowing him down in the first place.”
That level of addiction is what Rogers compares to stage four cancer.
“Once you get addicted and you’re 40 years old and you’ve been shooting up heroin for years, that’s like trying to treat stage four cancer,” Rogers said. “I’m not saying you give up on them but we’ve tried everything except we’ve never really taken prevention seriously before.”
One of the reasons the program is hosted in the summer is because that’s when many children begin experimenting with drugs, according to Rogers.
“Summer time is also the most vulnerable time for kids,” Rogers said. “They’re out of school, which is a controlled environment, and then they go back home to their parents, but summer is the time where kids are trying to keep busy.”
Upcoming dates for the Boot Camp program include Manchester on July 9-11 at Nathanial Massie Park, Seaman on July 23-25 at Church 180, Peebles on July 30-Aug. 1 at Grace Fellowship/Peebles Baptist and West Union on Aug. 13-15 at Adams County Christian School.