Scouts, police department partner on summer camp

Published 10:06 pm Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The 2016 Youth Leadership Camp will give area children a free opportunity to have some fun this summer.

This is the second year that the Selma Police Department, Police Athletic League, Tukabatchee Area Council and Boy Scouts of America have collaborated for the camp. Its goal is to create a positive interaction between the SPD and local youth in education and life-building skills. It is open for a maximum of 40 girls and boys ages 12 to 16 to attend and will take place at the Warner Scout Reservation in Prattville from June 27 to July 1.

Boy Scouts of America Representative Leith Wilson said he feels that the camp would offer youth the chance to learn the importance of teamwork and communication skills and to improve the cohesion between the police and the community.

“It’s a great opportunity to get to do some fun, outdoor activities and allow them to have some interaction with our local law enforcement,” Wilson said. “I feel like it’s important for youth to understand that the SPD is here to help us and for them to see them as real people,” Wilson said.

He said it is also crucial for campers to be introduced to skills they need to be successful throughout life. The camp is for young men and women who wish to discover and hone their leadership skills. It will also focus on positive character traits, but Wilson said it won’t shy away from fun. Activities will include canoeing, swimming, confidence courses, hiking and more. At first, the camp was only open to Selma and Dallas County youth but it will also be open to children from surrounding areas this year. Wilson said although registration has been slow, he is expecting the camp to have a turnout similar to the 2015 Youth Leadership Camp.

“We had a total of 16 kids from the Selma area last year. They had a good time and enjoyed the camp. I think it’s very important to give youth the opportunity to learn and grow along with getting new experiences,” Wilson said.

The camp is funded by donations of local businesses and churches, who had a goal of $15,000 to run the camp. Wilson said the Selma City Council has also given funds toward the camp. The original deadline to submit applications was May 16, but the deadline has been extended to June 15. Those who are interested can sign up by calling Selma Police Department Chief John T. Brock at (334) 874-2120.