Rising sixth graders in Madison have been having a blast over the past month with the Madison Police. For almost 20 years, the Madison Police Foundation has held their Kids Camp, which wrapped up this year on June 29.
Divided into three weekly camps so that as many kids in Madison can participate, Kids Camp is a week-long program filled with activities such as firetruck and police car demonstrations, a SWAT demo, relay races, crime scene processing and even a chance to experience what it would be like to drive drunk.
Through special drunk-vision goggles and a golf cart, campers try their hand at steering while impaired.
Kids Camp basically gives kids a chance to have some summer fun while learning about what police officers do every day. They also get to play ball and water games, relay race against each other in teams, and learn safety tips.
But it’s not just the kids who benefit from the annual camps. Officer Al Bryan explained that the program plays a big part in helping the officers forge relationships with the public that can help them do their job later on.
“It’s a good mentoring program for these kids and gives the kids the chance to learn that we’re real human beings. If you can establish a relationship as a police officer, people down the road can be helpful and come talk to us,” he said.
He’s also happy to have the opportunity to rid people of negative preconceptions people have about cops.
“We’re not what television indicates we are,” he said. “Television gives them a real bad opinion of police officers and that’s not real. Most of us have kids ourselves.”Kids Camp was conducted over three weeks between June 11 and 29. Campers attended a one-week session based on which elementary school they attend.
There were nearly 100 campers in each session.