TROY — More than 100 kids, ages 8-12, took part in the 2018 Miami County Sheriff’s Office summer youth camp on Wednesday, held at Redman’s Picnic Grounds in Troy.
Now in its fifteenth year, the Sheriff’s Office began hosting the camp in 2004 as an opportunity for kids in the county to interact with law enforcement officers in a positive way. The camp engages children through games, activities, and one-on-one interactions with officers in a relaxed atmosphere.
For the 115 participating Miami County students, the day began with a flag raising, a K-9 demonstration, and a message from special speaker Deputy Roger Davidson, who spoke to kids about the importance of personal safety on the internet.
“Every year we have a theme,” said Sheriff’s administrative assistant Rena Gumerlock. “This year, we’re teaching kids all about internet safety.”
The 2018 camp theme, “Beware of What You Share,” aims to teach children discretion on social media and to take caution before divulging personal information.
“On social media, you don’t want to post where you’re at, so people don’t know when you’re gone,” said Ty Riffle, 11, of Greenville.
“You have to be careful on the internet, so your personal information isn’t stolen,” said Madison Rose, 12, of Russia, who is attending the camp for the first time. “I’m having a great time. We’ve played a lot of games, and there’s been a lot to do.”
Following a catered lunch from Papa John’s, representatives from all Miami County law enforcement divisions were on site, along with their respective vehicles, including a fire truck, ambulance, police cruiser, SRT vehicle, and Careflight. Kids were invited to interact with officers from each division and explore each vehicle.
Children were also encouraged to engage in kickball, bounce houses, and other games, which included the involvement of officers from around the county.
“It has a very positive effect on kids,” Gumerlock said. “We have kids that start at age eight and go through age 12, because they never want to miss.”
“They look at law enforcement side differently than they would,” said Det. Todd Cooper of the Miami County Sheriff’s Office. “School resource officers are out playing kickball with some of the kids they know from schools, so it’s a long-lasting effect.”
This year’s camp sponsors include, alphabetically, Conagra, Meijer of Troy, Miami County FOP Lodge 58, Miami County Park District, Miami County Sheriff’s Patrol, Monroe Grange, Mr. Sew and Sew’s Embroidery, Screen Printing, and Promotional Products, Papa John’s, R.C. Glass Shops, Inc., Redmen’s Tonquas #222, Sherry Chrysler Dodge, Storypoint of Troy, and Troy Elks #833.
“We want to thank all the sponsors that donated to us,” Gumerlock said.
For more information, visit www.miamicountysheriff.org.