Kids have three days of fun while learning to make smart choices –
By Patricia Beech –
Last week over 130 kids in Manchester participated in the first session of the 2016 Adams County Junior Deputy Boot Camp at the Nathaniel Massie Park in Manchester. The event is hosted by Sheriff Kimmy Rogers and the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.
“We think it’s important to give the kids something positive to do during the summer months,” said Sheriff Rogers.
Now in its fourth year, the anti-drug awareness day camp focuses on teaching children ages 5-14 about the danger of drug abuse. The event includes two days of activities followed by a graduation ceremony and cookout on the third day.
Children participate in four different venues featuring a range of activities including team-building games, fire department demonstrations, an obstacle course, archery, horseback riding, and air rifle shooting.
The Adams County Health Department also provides a presentation for those attending. “We want to show them it’s good to say no to bad habits and bad activities,” said Bev Mathias from the Health Department. “Besides drug abuse, we also talk about the danger of smoking, alcohol, prescription drug use, how to say no to strangers, and good health habits – depending on the age of the kids.”
Special guests following Saturday’s graduation ceremony were the Lone Ranger and Tonto, who provided horse rides for the campers, who also received t-shirts with an anti-drug message.
Rogers said he believes the program helps prepare the kids to make better choices in life.
“We try to teach them just how dangerous this stuff is at an early age,” he says, “We’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on adults who are addicted to drugs, and I think we’ve proven that waiting until someone is already addicted is not the best way to solve the drug problem.”
One of the reasons the program is hosted in the summer is because that’s when many children begin experimenting with drugs.
According to Sheriff Rogers, “Summer time is the most vulnerable time for kids,” he says. “They’re out of school, which is a controlled environment, and then they go back home to their parents, but summer is the time when kids needs to keep busy.”
Upcoming dates for the Junior Deputy Boot Camps are: Blue Creek – June 23, 24, 25; Peebles – July 7, 8, 9; Seaman – July 28, 29, 30; and West Union – Aug. 11,12, 13.