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Police, fire camp wraps up

On Friday, around 50 campers capped a fun week with local police and firefighters at a graduation celebration at the Mike Daniel Recreation Center.

The LaGrange Police and Fire Departments held two free, week-long camps this summer, dividing campers by age. The city sponsored camp has been a staple of the community for decades, and this year proved to be a fun experience for both the campers and its public safety organizers.

“This has been a great group of kids, and I have enjoyed being around them and having fun and laughing with them,” LFD Lt. Chris Taylor said. “They mentioned earlier (during the graduation program) that some of the adults are kids at heart. Well, this gave us the chance to be kids also.”

For the police officers and firefighters who take part in the camp, the experience is all about forming relationships within the community.

“That is what we do the camp for,” LPD Sgt. Marshall McCoy said. “It brings people together that may not ordinarily associate with one another maybe based on where they live or where they go to church, but they just never see each other. It is an opportunity for the kids to come together and make new friends. It is also a chance for them to see the public safety guys — the police and the fire because it is a police and fire camp — in a different light and have fun.”

The camp combined fun with tips to keep kids safe, making it possible for the campers to walk away with fun experience and a fuller knowledge of safety as well as what the police and fire departments do.

“We get to talk about our jobs in a more relaxed atmosphere, and we bring all the trucks and stuff out, and we get that time where we provide education,” McCoy said. “Then there are other times that we are just having fun like when we take them to the movies — that is nothing more than just having fun — but on all those trips, there is always a component of safety that we cover with them.

Everything from being seated in your right seat to buckling up to staying together to watching the road before you cross, so we do a little bit of everything.”

The campers also learned about water and swimming safety during trips to the Mike Daniels Recreation Center pool at the camp, and camp organizers expressed hopes that this free camp would just be one part of the children’s fun summer experience.

“They had a lot of fun, and we just hope that after today they get the chance to enjoy the rest of the summer and do some other neat things and prepare to go back to school when the fall rolls around,” Taylor said.