Picayune Police to hold annual summer camp

Published 3:36 pm Wednesday, May 9, 2007

For the fifth year children in Picayune will have the opportunity to become acquainted with and have fun with the men and women of the city’s police force.

Originally lasting only a week, Chief Jim Luke said the tremendous success of the camp has lead the department to extend it to two weeks, with the two separate age groups.

This year there will be two camps catering to the two age groups. The first week, June 11-15, will welcome the seven, eight and nine-year old children. The second week, June 25-29, will cater to the 10,11 and 12-year old children. There will be spaces for 50 children in each group and the camp will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on each of those days, said Lt. Theresa Milar.

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During the mornings at the camp, children will learn how to make correct choices in life, such as what to do if they are offered drugs or what to do in instances of a house fire, Luke said. In the afternoon the children will have opportunities to have some fun.

“It is just more of a safety seminar in the morning with a high emphasis on drugs,” Luke said. “If we don’t get to our kids before the drug dealers do, that could cause problems later in life.”

In the afternoon the children will have the opportunities to do the fun activities, such as horseback riding, go on a trip to the Global Wildlife Center in Folsom, or to go fishing. The department is looking for any resident with a nicely stocked pond for the children to fish in for about three hours.

“We would appreciate them contacting us and letting us know where it is,” Milar said.

Children who may not like fishing could go to the Paint Your Own Studio in town that day to paint a piece of pottery, Milar said.

Another aspect of the camp will show the children that police officers should not be feared.

“It’s not like they are talking to an officer, it’s like they are talking to a friend,” Milar said.

The police department is requesting community involvement to help get the camp underway. While the families of the children will not be charged a fee for their child to attend, the department is looking for donations to help fund the event. For $50, one child can attend the camp free of charge to the family, Luke said.

Applications for the camp can be found at the police station, 24 hours a day. To sponsor a child or for additional information, community members may call Milar or Ginger Bennett at 601-798-6829.

The last day of the camp will be graduation day where the families of the children will gather to have a cookout and have fun on water slides. Graduation days will be held on the Friday of each age group’s week.