Police, firefighters and puppets teach kids to stay safe at Camp Safety | ParkRecord.com

Police, firefighters and puppets teach kids to stay safe at Camp Safety

The Park City Fire District visits Camp Safety last year. The camp, which was started by was started by Dr. Christina Sally, a forensics interviewer for the Summit County Children’s Justice Center and investigator for the Summit County Attorney’s Office, teaches children ages 5 and 6 to keep safe.
Courtesy of Christina Sally

What: Camp Safety

When: 9-11:30 a.m. from Aug. 12-16

Where: Temple Har Shalom, 3700 Brookside Ct.

Cost: $90

Phone: 435-615-3829

Email: csally@summitcounty.org

While there are many adventure, education and art camps aimed at helping children stay physically and mentally busy during the summer, there’s one called Camp Safety that helps 5- and 6-year-olds take care of themselves and their friends.

Camp Safety, which covers topics such as anti-bullying behavior, bicycle, fire and gun safety, runs from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. from Aug. 12-16 at Temple Har Shalom. The cost is $90, and the price will include the camp, snacks, a T-shirt, water bottle and pizza party. Scholarships are also available.

Campers come from different counties, so building trust within the group of 26 campers is an important first step, said Dr. Christina Sally, Camp Safety founder and a forensics interviewers for the Summit County Children’s Justice Center.

“Each day we build cooperation within the kids to help them get to know each other, and that training prepares the kids so they can feel more comfortable learning about additional topics such as keeping their bodies safe and gun safety,” said Sally, who is also the investigator for the Summit County Attorney’s Office. “We also address stranger danger, and when it is important to talk to a stranger, like those times when they get lost.”

Towards the end of each day, we help the kids process what they learned through art projects,..” Camp Safety founder and a forensics interviewers for the Summit County Children’s Justice Center

Those topics are addressed later in the week, Sally said.

“These are issues that can be very difficult for parents to talk with their children about,” she said. “And it also addresses what kids should do about those they kind of know or someone they know who may try to hurt them. We want to help families start that dialogue, if they haven’t already started it.”

Gun safety is a topic that has emerged over the past few years, Sally said.”There are a lot of people who are gun owners, and kids may be exposed to a weapon at friends’ houses or homes of relatives,” she said.

Mike Bergin, Park City Gun Club’s director of training, gives the safety talk, according to Sally.

“We don’t have any firearms at the camp, but he teaches the kids what they should do when they see a gun, especially when there is peer pressure involved, and their friends are daring them to touch it,” she said.

In addition to Bergin, local firefighters and law enforcement officers give presentations.

“They come in plain clothes, so the kids are able to relate and connect with them as people, and not as authority figures,” Sally said. “I also have a group of teenage volunteers who help out as well.”

The topics are also taught through story times and puppetry that engage the children more effectively than a lecture, she said.

“Towards the end of each day, we help the kids process what they learned through art projects,” Sally said.

Sally throws a pizza party for the campers and their families on the last day of camp.

“It’s just a fun way to end the week that is full of serious topics,” Sally said.

Sally started Camp Safety in 2012, the same year the Children’s Justice Center was established, and the camp acts as the educational arm of the center.

We’re a unique program for young children, because we don’t go into classrooms and do presentations,” she said. “Parents first bring them to our camp when they are 5, and they bring them back the next year when they turn 6.”

The camps have been held at Temple Har Shalom for the past few years.

“It’s a beautiful facility for us and the kids with a playground, and the staff is so gracious,” she said.


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