Leaders in the Tega Cay Police Department are already planning for camp next summer.
That’s when dozens of children will get a look at law enforcement during a free summer camp that will be the first of it’s kind for the city. The Tega Cay Police Department’s Camp Cadet is designed to reward students for their hard work during the school year and to help inspire trust and respect between the kids and the public servants.
“It’s important to me to build relationships with the community and this is a way to show children that police and fire, especially police, are not your enemies,” Tega Cay Police Chief Steve Parker said. “Especially in light of what’s going on in today’s society, and try to build those positive relationships.”
The department also reaches out to kids though Cop Dots in which cards bearing officers’ likeness were given to kids who asked for them. Prizes were offered to kids who collected them all.
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The camp will be a week-long program next summer and will focus on education, leadership and responsibility. It will also have demonstrations from the K9 unit, SWAT team, Tega Cay Fire Department and visits to amusement parks. It’s open to residents of Tega Cay. Rising fifth- through seventh-graders will be asked to submit an application and a reference from a school counselor or teacher.
“The letter of recommendation is going to be based off students’ behavior, their leadership traits, how their grades are. So we are wanting to reward them, and there is no better way to reward somebody than to try to give them a great camp, without having to pay,” Parker said.
The department is in the process of applying for a federal nonprofit status for the program. Parker estimates it will cost between $7,500 and $10,000 to fund 40 campers for a week. There has already been some fundraising to help with the costs. An Aug. 1 softball tournament, brought in about $1,300. Half of the funds will go to the camp, the other half will go to help Tega Cay Police Department’s Sgt. Anthony White, who is has pancreatic cancer.
But the camp is more than just rewarding the kids, according to Chief Parker.
“It’s more of what can we do to help children grow and become leaders in the future and build relationships so that they trust the police instead of distrust,” he said.
Katie Rutland: 864-539-2293, firstname.lastname@example.org, @kt_belle
Want to help?
The department's main fundraiser will be its inaugural golf tournament in October. Sponsorships are available and golfer registration is open. For more information, go to tegacaysc.org/1354/Golf-Tournament.
Donations to the camp can be made online. For more information on the camp and to download an application, go to tegacaysc.org/1353/Camp-Cadet.