Ohio government getting on the early prevention bandwagon –
Photo and story by Patricia Beech –
Hundreds of children gathered at the Adams County Fairgrounds on Thursday, Aug. 11 for the beginning of the fourth summer session of Junior Deputy Boot Camp.
Sheriff Kimmy Rogers joined Adams County deputies and a host of volunteers to supervise the children during the three-day camp.
“We see the same kids come back year after year,” said Deputy Micah Poe. “We can see a difference in them because the program works. The kids really respond to the message.”
That message is “avoid drugs”. The Junior Deputy program focuses on preparing children ages 5 – 14 to make good decisions when faced with bad choices, relating especially to drugs.
“We’ve been trying to solve the drug problem from the wrong end for too long,” says Sheriff Rogers. “I honestly believe prevention is the key to solving the drug abuse problem.”
Rogers has been promoting prevention education for several years through the Boot Camp. He has also taken his message directly to the halls of government in Columbus. It appears that someone there has finally heard Sheriff Roger’s plea for early prevention.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Senate President Keith Faber, and House Speaker Clifford Rosenberger last week announced the formation of a study committee that will examine the current state of drug use prevention education in Ohio schools and recommend strategies to implement this type of education in all grade levels across the state.
The West Union Boot Camp graduation cookout was held Saturday evening at the fairgrounds. Activities for the children included horseback rides, archery, air rifle target practice, and rides in a real military vehicle. Each child received a Certificate of Participation signed by Sheriff Rogers.
“We’ve had 535 kids come to our Boot Camps this year,” said Rogers, “We will be having one more Boot Camp this year, and we would love to have 600 kids for the year.”