Camp Safety helps Summit County kids avoid dangerous situations
The Summit County Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with local law enforcement, will host its annual Camp Safety for children entering kindergarten and first grades. The camp will run from 9-11:30 a.m. from Aug. 13-17 at the Temple Har Shalom, 3700 Brookside Court. The cost is $90. For more information, visit summitcounty.org/593/Childrens-Justice-Center or contact Christina Sally, Summit County Attorney’s Office Investigator at 435-615-3829 or email@example.com.
While Park City and Summit County families are busy buying back-to-school supplies and clothes, Christina Sally, an investigator with the Summit County Attorney’s Office, wants families to also think about student safety.
To help students learn how to keep safe before, during and after school, Sally has offered Camp Safety through the Summit County Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with local law enforcement, for children entering kindergarten and first grades.
The camp will run from 9-11:30 a.m. every day the week of Aug. 13 to Aug. 17 at Temple Har Shalom.
The cost is $90 and the price includes snacks, T-shirts, water bottles, backpacks and a pizza party.
Sally, who created Camp Safety in 2012 from a pilot program she established in the Bay Area, is designed to educate young kids ages 5 to 6 on a myriad of safety topics, including bike safety and fire safety.
“We do that with hands-on activities and puppet shows,” she said. “The fire department will come in and we have police officers come and interact with the children every day.”
Camp Safety runs with an anti-bullying theme and participants can learn how to help each others, stand up for each other and learn what to do when they are bullied, according to Sally.
“It starts an important dialogue that will help kids be ‘upstanders’ instead of bystanders,” she said.
The camp also features a day for students to learn how to keep themselves safe from sexual abuse.
“The kids will learn how to recognize that uncomfortable feeling when someone touches them or asks them to touch them back,” Sally said.
The lesson also teaches the children various warning signs when it comes to adults.
“We always tell children to be cautious about strangers, but we also need to tell them about (how sometimes) the people who will try to do something bad to their bodies is someone they know,” Sally said.
The United States Department of Justice reports that 90 percent of sexual abusers are either family members or family friends. The report also said that one in six boys and one in four girls will be sexually abused before they are 18.
“So we discuss ‘strangers,’ ‘kinda-knows’ and people that they know,” Sally said. “The ‘kinda-knows’ are those people who parents talk with and the kids see on occasion.”
Another important part of the camps is to show students when it is appropriate to talk with strangers.
“That happens when we talk about what to do if the children are lost or separated from their trusted adults,” Sally said. “This is important because we have to make sure they understand the balance in approaching strangers when things like this happen.”
The camp also addresses gun safety.
“We talk about what to do if a child is exposed to a gun or if they see a gun in a neighbor’s home,” Sally said. “With the prevalence of gun owners, we want to makes sure kids learn the appropriate response, especially if the children have been bullied.”
After the kids learn about these issues during the camp, Sally will email parents with tips about how to continue the discussions at home.
“Sometimes parents have a hard time talking to their children about their bodies and about some of these safety issues,” she said. “So we give them tools on ways to approach their children.”
Sally said Camp Safety is the highlight of her job.
“I love it because the kids are so fun to work with,” she said. “I’ve gotten to know families who have sent all of their kids to the camp, and I’ve gotten to know volunteers who have returned year and year again.”
Sally also thanked Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter and Captain Andrew Leatham for their support.
“It would be easy for the police to say they’re too busy to participate in a daily camp,” she said. “So it’s nice to have them be so supportive and allow their officers to give presentations.
Sally also thanked Temple Har Shalom and its director of office administrations Deb Sheldon, its director of office administrations, for their donation of the space.
“I feel so lucky to do this in a community that supports programs like this,” Sally said. “It’s a really great opportunity and offering for young kids in the community to participate.”
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