FREDERICK COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — Almost 100 Frederick County Virginia children are seeing law enforcement officers in a new way this week.
“We like our kids our youth to understand that we are just as human as they are.” Sheriff Lenny Millholland said.
And that is one of the reasons why the Frederick County Sheriff’s youth camp was started 20 years ago.
“I really like the idea of getting to know the police officers and the sheriffs that area around my neighborhood,” Ayla Stokes and Skylar Vollmer said.
Deputies and volunteers are making all expenses paid week-long experience one to remember.
“Being out here gives me something to do, do something that I haven’t really done, never before,” Ayla Stokes and Skylar Vollmer said.
Kids ages 10 through 14 are participating in the over-night camp which includes fishing, archery, swimming, sports, and team building activities. Brady Pellath has attended the camp each summer since the 5th grade, and now as a staff aide, he says the relationships he’s made with deputies over the years will last a lifetime.
“They’re people too they come out here and have fun with them, they’re not just going out and working all the time, they actually like to come out here and enjoy time with the kids. I want them to leave with a good mind set, and say hey if I ever need something, these are good people and they are actually just like me.” Pellath said.
And with no cell phones, the campers get to connect with each other, dive into new experiences, and make lifelong friendships.
“I feel more productive every day, I want to go outside and do something or I want to go paint something and I’m not necessarily sitting on my phone all the time,” Ayla Stokes and Skylar Vollmer said.
“We have the best group of people, and then when you take these kids and out them into the mix it makes for a wonderful week,” Millholland said.
Frederick County Sheriff’s Youth Camp is made possible through donations and fundraising events that are held throughout the year.