LaGRANGE, Ga. (WRBL) – The Troup County Sheriff’s Office is currently holding their annual youth camp. The objective of the camp is to teach children safety skills while participating in fun activities and introducing them to sheriff’s in the community.
Sergeant Stewart Smith, the Public Information Officer for the Troup County Sherriff’s Office, has been hosting the camps for eight years with the exception of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The goal of it is to be a community outreach and we want the kids to learn what we do at the sheriff’s office, how we work, how we serve the community. For the kids to see us as not just police officers or deputy sheriff’s but as regular people,” said Smith.
The Sheriff’s Academy for Youth is held for two weeks. The first week for children ages nine and 10, the second week for children ages 11 and 12. Smith said many children have participated for four consecutive years between the ages of nine and 12.
Smith said one of his main goals is to ensure that the children are having a good time. He organizes activities throughout the week like attending a water park and an animal safari.
“If it weren’t for this camp they may not have the opportunity to experience that. It’s just a chance for them to be able to see things they might not be able to see,” said Smith.
For the safety portion of the camp, the kids are shown what the sheriff deputies do as well as, the jobs of other public safety partners. They receive demonstrations from the fire department and the LaGrange Police Department.
Smith receives help from other deputies who volunteer their time for the camps. At the end of each week, he also asks for feedback from both the kids and the parents on their thoughts from the week. He said many times he receives positive feedback which he appreciates.
There is a $40 registration fee that covers all the activities as well as, lunch everyday for each child.
Andrew Hagler, a camp attendee, said he wanted to attend the camp because he aspires to be a sheriff one day.
“Thank you for teaching us all this cause we probably wouldn’t learn all this anywhere else,” said Hagler.