What is Camp SHIELD?
In 2015, the Geary County Sheriff’s Office sent several of it’s employees to Wyoming to be trained in the operation of Camp Shield. The Deputies and Corrections Officers that attended were able to interact with the children and see the amazing impact it has during the week long adventure. For the past three years, the Community Involvement Team has been working towards to development of Camp SHIELD, using the information obtained from Wyoming as a basis for our camp.
Camp SHIELD stands for Sheriffs Helping to Inspire and Encourage through Leadership Development. The camp will provide a safe environment with appropriate role models, ideals and values. Camp SHIELD will help empower the children and arm them with the necessary skills to become successful and respectful adults.
The week long camp will consist of planned activities, as well as team-building activities, that will help build self-esteem, leadership and decision making skills. Campers are expected to share their input and ideas while they are learning the importance of the camp’s values.
Camp SHIELD is geared mostly towards children who are in the transition period between 5th and 6th grade. Local law enforcement officers, school personnel and community members will assist in helping to identify which children in the community would benefit the most from attending Camp SHIELD. There are several circumstances as to why a child would be selected to attend the all-inclusive camp. The child has possible worked extremely hard during the school year, he or she may have come upon a difficult time in their life, somebody could have referred the child because he or she could benefit from a positive experience, or they could be a camper from the previous year that has returned due to last years’ experience having such a huge impact on their life.
The first annual Camp SHIELD was held from May 29, 2019 through June 2, 2019. Counselors of the camp consisted of law enforcement personnel, which at the beginning of camp, the youth was not aware of this. Counselors helped lead activities in regular civilian clothing for most of the week. They interacted and spent time with the children while teaching them the values of the camp. On the last day of camp, the officers revealed their true identities to the children at the awards ceremony. The campers realized the people they were having fun and joking with all week were actually cops. Not only does the camp provide strong values, but it also helps shine a light on the positive side of law enforcement.
Camp SHIELD was held at Rock Springs Ranch in Geary County. The Camp was all-inclusive and was funded by private contributions as well as by many fundraisers hosted by the Geary County Sheriff’s Community Involvement Team. The camp staff operated on a volunteer basis, so all funds raised covered the cost of supplies and equipment that was needed. The Geary County Sheriff’s Office Community Involvement Team implemented Camp SHIELD on May 29th and it continued through June 2, 2019.
The year 2020 brought a lot of challenges with organizing Camp SHIELD. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we were unable to invite local youths out to participate. Camp SHIELD was again hosted in 2021 but modified to a day time camp to comply with the restrictions that were still in place from the COVID-19 pandemic. Campers met at the Geary County Sheriff’s Office every day and our team members transported them to various locations within Geary County and Riley County. We participated in zip-lining, escape rooms, shooting and gun safety, archery, team building exercises and group activities. Each activity was chosen specifically for Camp SHIELD with the intention of providing the self-esteem boost, confidence and team building we strive to teach.
During the first week of August, 2022, the Community Involvement Team was again able to host a week-long, overnight camp experience. While our attendance was slightly less than was anticipated, but counselors were still able to make a positive impact on our camper’s lives. Camp SHIELD was again held at Rock Springs Ranch in Geary County. We look forward to being able to host Camp SHIELD for many more years to come.
It is our hope that Camp SHIELD has left lasting impression on the youth and citizens of our community.
If you would like to donate to the Community Involvement Team using PayPal, click here.
Below are photos from this year’s camp.