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‘DARE to be GREAT’ Summer Camp Concludes with Family Day

Posted on July 1, 2016 by in Georgia, Hometown

Columbus Police Cpl. Travis Spencer, center, holds the microphone for his D.A.R.E. students during their skit for parents and public safety officer Thursday. About 70 boys and girls attended the month-long D.A.R.E. to Be Great summer camp held at Fort Middle School. Funded by a grant through the Office of Crime Prevention, the youngsters went on field trips, including the National Infantry Museum, Oxbow Meadows and the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, spent a day at the Aquatics Center, went to the movies, had educational sessions about bullying and respect, and got a lot of exercise - all part of the message to stay away from drugs and gangs. Robin Trimarchi rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com

The “D.A.R.E. to be GREAT” summer camp, designed to teach youth how to avoid danger and drugs, concluded Thursday with a family day at Fort Middle School.

The Columbus Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit invited parents and students to the school to reflect on the fun experiences and lessons the camp provided. The students performed educational skits before enjoying a day out in the sun with water slides, ice cream and more.

Right (click to view full image): Columbus Police Cpl. Travis Spencer, center, holds the microphone for his D.A.R.E. students during their skit for parents and public safety officer Thursday. About 70 boys and girls attended the month-long D.A.R.E. to Be Great summer camp held at Fort Middle School. Funded by a grant through the Office of Crime Prevention, the youngsters went on field trips, including the National Infantry Museum, Oxbow Meadows and the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, spent a day at the Aquatics Center, went to the movies, had educational sessions about bullying and respect, and got a lot of exercise – all part of the message to stay away from drugs and gangs. Robin Trimarchi [email protected]

“What we really want the kids to focus on is that they have choices to make,” said Columbus police Sgt. Donald Bush, head of the D.A.R.E. program. “We’re trying to make sure they make the right choices by having the tools to make those choices.”

Bush said the Muscogee County School District requires students to complete the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program. It’s a series of officer-led classes that teach children how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence-free lives.

The Crime Prevention Unit continues the program after the school year ends with the D.A.R.E. to be GREAT summer camp, which started June 6. This year’s camp was funded through a $56,000 grant provided by the city of Columbus.

The grant made it possible for students to enjoy free field trips to the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center, the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, movie theater, bowling alley and more.

D.A.R.E. campers rehearse a skit on the last day of the month-long D.A.R.E. to Be Great summer camp Thursday held at Fort Middle School. About 70 boys and girls attended the camp. Funded by a grant through the Office of Crime Prevention, the youngsters went on field trips, including the National Infantry Museum, Oxbow Meadows and the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, spent a day at the Aquatics Center, went to the movies, had educational sessions about bullying and respect, and got a lot of exercise - all part of the message to stay away from drugs and gangs. Robin Trimarchi rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com

D.A.R.E. campers rehearse a skit on the last day of the month-long D.A.R.E. to Be Great summer camp Thursday held at Fort Middle School. About 70 boys and girls attended the camp. Funded by a grant through the Office of Crime Prevention, the youngsters went on field trips, including the National Infantry Museum, Oxbow Meadows and the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, spent a day at the Aquatics Center, went to the movies, had educational sessions about bullying and respect, and got a lot of exercise – all part of the message to stay away from drugs and gangs. Robin Trimarchi [email protected]

Bush said it’s the positive interaction between police officers and the students that makes the D.A.R.E. program so successful.

“They see the police officers in a different light,” he said. “They see that’s a person, hopefully, they can trust. Hopefully, they can talk to that person.”

Daniel Roy, 11, said he enjoyed the field trips and science experiments as well as the important message D.A.R.E. strives to teach its participants.

“Treat other people like you want to be treated,” Roy responded when asked about what the program has taught him. “And don’t smoke or drink, because millions of people die over the year from smoking.”

‘DARE to be GREAT’ Summer Camp “Can’t Stop the Feeling”

Peggy Edwards said her 11-year-old granddaughter, Haley, has also thoroughly enjoyed the camp. She would often times return home talking about her exciting adventures.

Edwards said she admires the officers for their willingness to take the time out of their busy days to speak with the youth about significant topics, such as bullying.

“I’ve watched the police officers up here and it just amazes me how they take their time to do something like this,” she said. “I really believe every child should be able to go through it, because they learn so much with the activities they do.”

This article by Sarah Robinson was originally published on the Ledger-Enquirer.

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