Does your child watch crime shows like CSI, Law and Order or Numbers? Do they talk about pursuing a career in law enforcement? Are they interested in attending camp over the summer? Then the Clay County Sheriff's Department has a suggestion for a unique camping experience for your child this summer.
"The Indiana Sheriffs' Youth Leadership Camp is a great opportunity for kids to learn and build leadership skills that will last throughout their lives," Sheriff Mike Heaton said.
There are two opportunities for 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls and boys from around the state to attend the 27th annual camp this year.
Clay County children can attend the southern Indiana session on July 13-15 at Waycross Episcopal Camp in Morgantown (Brown County). The second session will take place at Ross Camp in West Lafayette, (Tippecanoe County) during July 18-20 for children living in the northern part of the state.
Usually 50-70 kids visit the southern camp each year, but Sheriff Heaton would like to see more from Clay County go.
"I'd love to get more kids from Clay County to go this year," he said. "They get to have fun while learning a healthy respect for themselves, law enforcement personnel and for the laws of the state."
Organized in 1980 by the Indiana Sheriffs' Association, the camp is a way to create and foster stronger relationships between Indiana's youth and the men and women who enforce the laws. It creates an opportunity for law enforcement officers and young adults to come together while participating in fun activities and develop trusting relationships while learning about law, building character and inspiring leadership skills.
To do this, officers spend a great deal of time with the kids conducting demonstrations about boat and water safety, K-9 demonstrations, defensive tactics and the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. With a goal of establishing positive relationships with campers, officers use team sports to teach leadership skills, comradeship and discipline. Guest lecturers also speak at the camp about how the government works and why laws exist as a way to develop good citizenship.
Law enforcement personnel from across the state look forward to the camp. For many, the best part is seeing children, especially those who ordinarily do not have the opportunity, experience summer camp for the first time.
This is why officers from all over the state work closely with their local businesses and civic organizations to collect donations to provide scholarship assistance for campers with limited funding.
"It's very rewarding to see kids participating in activities that will build life skills that will help them make good decisions throughout the live," Heaton said. "It isn't about getting them to join the force, although that would be great, this is really all about helping them to become strong leaders for tomorrow."
Applications for those interested in attending the camp will be available through the Clay County Sheriff's Department at the Clay County Justice Center during normal business hours. For additional information, please call 446-2535.