phones, no radio, no TV
Just good clean fun at sheriff's camp for boys 10 to 16
|Photo courtesy of the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office|
“Operation First Class Sheriff’s Camp” provides activities for boys like archery, swimming, rifle range participation, and a repelling wall, to keep participants occupied in an attempt to reinforce positive behaviors.
“These boys will be living outside of their comfort zone because we don’t allow them to bring cell phones, radios, television or any other portable or electronic device for six days straight, the entire length of the camp,” Sgt. Berley McCarter, camp director and deputy for St. Charles Parish Sheriffs office told the Herald-Guide.
“We’ve planned enough fun activities to keep the kids busy without all of the other outside luxuries and we certainly don’t want them to be distracted,” he continued.
The camp’s mission is that the young men will return home with a respect for the community, each other, and law enforcement.
Patrol Deputy Chris Beard, 22, of Luling got the opportunity to get hands on experience for his law enforcement career, by attending the sheriff’s summer camps every summer.
“When I was growing up, I knew law enforcement is something I wanted to do,” Beard said.
“I got the opportunity to attend the the camp when I was 14 years old and two years after that,” he said.
“It opened my eyes up to the positive impact police officers have on the community.”
McCarter said not every child who applies to go the camp will be accepted into the program, but notes that the sheriff’s policy is not to turn anyone away.
“We utilize our resource officers, teachers and counselors within the St. Charles Parish school system to help us identify which kids they think should attend the camp,” McCarter said.
“We try to take at least 50 boys every year, but if the teachers or counselors come to us with a child they feel has a definite need for our services, we will accept them even after we’ve filled our quota,” he continued.
Deputies monitor the camper’s behaviors closely, anyone that is unruly will be sent home.
“Although it seldom happens, we have sent kids home for being disruptive and violent, not only for their own safety and protection, but for the other campers too,” McCarter said.
McCarter needs to keep groups limited to a certain number of children to ensure that campers get the most out of the experience.
“We have to maintain a ratio, of two deputies for not more than 10 campers,” he said.
“Having smaller groups to work with keeps the camp running smoothly,” he told the Herald-Guide.
“Occasionally a child gets unruly or violent and we have to send them back home, but this doesn’t happen often.”
Applications must be filled out completely and accurately and every child accepted into the camp must take a physical before they can attend.
“We require that all of the kids get a check-up from their family doctor,” McCarter said.
“Once all of the paperwork is reviewed, parents will receive a letter notifying them that their child has been accepted into the program.”
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