Rolesville Police run Camp C.A.R.E. for youth
By Kelly Knowles
ROLESVILLE — In an effort to engage the community and form positive relationships between police officers and youth, the Rolesville Police Department has developed several interactive initiatives. One of those initiatives is Camp C.A.R.E.
Camp C.A.R.E. stands for choices, accountability, respect and excellence. With a curriculum comparable to D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), a classroom curriculum taught by law enforcement, Camp C.A.R.E. offers enrichment classes with an emphasis on the dangers of drugs and alcohol. In addition to classes taught by the Poe Health Center and 4H, the campers are given lessons on wildlife, fire and internet safety, as well as bullying.
Following the acronym, the purpose of the camp is to teach youth that they have choices in life, that choices have consequences, and that everyone must hold themselves accountable for the choices they make. Additionally, they are taught that they must respect themselves before anyone can respect them, and to be the best that they can be. Ultimately, the lessons, athletic activities, and acronym round out the second point of emphasis for the camp: making good choices.
Interspersed with the education sessions, youth are given opportunities to get active. With a mix of officers and student athletes, or junior counselors, the camp provides a variety of sports activities, and the campers are put in rotation to try each one throughout the week.
“We hope that we may expose kids to things that they may not … get the chance to play,” said Bobby Langston, chief of police. “This may also allow them to see that they have talent in other areas that maybe they didn’t know they had.”
Through its enrichment opportunities and sports activities, Camp C.A.R.E. gives youth a chance to see a different side of police.
“The camp allows the police department staff and youth to interact without our uniforms on and engage to foster better relationships,” said Chief Langston.
Captain Orlando Soto said that he has seen the difference that engaging has made, and that youth now recognize him when he is out at places.
Camp C.A.R.E. is completely free, with lunch provided by area restaurants. Now in its third summer, the camp is offered for two weeks, June 20-24 and July 25-29. It runs 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, and is available for youths 9-12.
In other efforts to engage the community, the Rolesville Police Department will be starting more programs in the fall, including Hero 5K, and Shop with a Cop. Hosted and sponsored by the police department, Hero 5K will be a competitive race, while the superhero mile will be a fun run, both held Oct. 22. All of the money raised in each run will go to fund the Shop with a Cop program.
The purpose of Shop with a Cop is to provide a Christmas to children who can’t afford one, as well as make sure each child owns a winter coat. The event will end with a pizza party and a chance for the children to wrap gifts.