LPD, LFD host camp for local kids

Published 6:15 pm Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The LaGrange Police and Fire Department Youth Summer Camp began at the Mike Daniel Recreation Center on Monday, with 32 local children taking advantage of the first week of the free camp.

Throughout this week, local children taking part in the camp will enjoy in a variety of activities ranging from the K9 demonstration and smoke house exercise that took place on Monday to scavenger hunts, tours of local headquarters and a movie.

“It gives us a way to show what we do on a day-to-day basis in a fun way for the kids,” said LFD Sgt. Matt Oubre. “The kids can go have fun, but there is also structure and accountability.”

This week’s camp is made up of primarily 7 and 8-year-old children, and the departments will also host a camp for 9 to 11-year-old children next week. The camp is one of several ways that the departments work to connect with the community.

LPD Sgt. Marshall McCoy said that the free camp has been in place since LPD Chief Lou Dekmar took on his role at the department.

“It is a chance for us to tell what it is that we do, how it is we do it and why it is that we do it and work with these young people,” McCoy said.

McCoy and Oubre said they hope some of the children who go through the camp will decide to join the LPD or LFD when they grow up.

“Our goal is to hopefully have one of these young men or women join law enforcement or fire service, so they are getting exposed to it now,” McCoy said. “Of course, when you build relationships with the kids, a lot of times the parents even start showing an interest in what it is that we do. They go home and tell their parents.”

For the departments, the camp is as much about developing relationships and explaining what they do as it is having fun with campers.

“This is still a dream job for kids,” Oubre said.

“They want to grow up and be firefighters. We tell them what we do, and the cool things we get to do. We do it in a fun way.”

The camp also features an event where the campers will get to meet other law enforcement agencies from the area.

“You build a relationship with the community when you start with the kids,” McCoy said. “One of the best places to build relationships is with the youth because they are the future.”