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C.H.A.M.P.S. Camp set for 11th year

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

Summer is only a couple of months away on the calendar but the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office CPIU (Crime Prevention & Intervention Unit) is already planning for our 2011 C.H.A.M.P.S. Summer Camp.

The Dougherty County Sheriff's Office has either hosted or co-hosted a summer camp for the past 11 years. Before being elected sheriff, Ted Thomas of the Dougherty County School Police, a former Albany police officer, and I coordinated a six-week camp for children and teenagers known as the G.R.E.A.T. Summer Camp.

Students who successfully completed the 4th-, 5th- or 6th-grade character education component known as G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistance Education And Training) became eligible to attend the summer camp. Since my election as sheriff, my focus has been on teaching C.H.A.M.P.S. (Choosing Healthy Activities & Methods Promoting Safety) to 5th graders in the Dougherty County School System, St. Teresa's Catholic School and Deerfield-Windsor Lower Campus.

C.H.A.M.P.S. was developed by the Georgia Sheriff's Association approximately eight years ago and has grown rapidly throughout the state, being taught by one-third of sheriff's offices in the state. The curriculum is taught to 5th graders and has 21 different modules or topics. The modules range from alcohol and drug prevention to safety issues at home and in our neighborhoods.

Lt. Terron Hayes is the head facilitator, with assistance from Maj. Pamela Johnson, Sgt. Santos Ruizgonzalez, Officer Vivian Hunt and, of course, yours truly. We were able to teach in 13 of Dougherty County's 16 elementary schools this past year. We were also able to teach 5th graders at St. Teresa's and Deerfield Windsor.

The 2011 C.H.A.M.P.S. Summer Program is one of the most comprehensive youth programs in the state of Georgia. The camp offers diversity of both education and recreation that will enrich and enhance the lives of the children participating in the program. Law enforcement personnel from the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office and the Dougherty County School Police will supervise and also educate the youth on the dangers of drugs, involvement with gangs, bullying, peer influence, dangers of alcohol, etc.

The students will have the opportunity to interact with law enforcement to ask questions and learn how to deal with various issues. The camp will also include a Summer Olympic Games competition. Open recreation will also be available each day.

The 2011 C.H.A.M.P.S. Summer Program will start on Tuesday, May 31, and will continue for six weeks, ending on Friday, July 8.

Operating hours will be from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. daily. An extended-day service will be offered from 7:30 a.m.-9 a.m. and 3 p.m.- 5 p.m. This service is offered for parents who work early or get off a little later in the afternoon. A small fee does accompany this service. Lunch will be provided for all participants at no cost. Bus transportation will also be available at no cost.

The age for campers will range between 10-15 years old. For more information, please contact Lt. Terron Hayes at (229) 344-4363 or (229) 431-2169.

Sheriff KevinSproul is a longtime resident of Dougherty County. He is a graduate of Albany High School, Darton College and LaGrange College of Albany. Sproul has been employed with the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office for 28 years and can be reached at (229) 430-6508.