Law enforcement agencies team up for safety camp | ParkRecord.com

Law enforcement agencies team up for safety camp

Participants in the 2015 Camp Safety program are shown on their bikes in the parking lot of the Summit County Library Kimball Junction Branch. This year, the weeklong program will be held Monday, Aug. 15, to Friday, Aug. 19.

Christina Sally, lead investigator with the Summit County Children's Justice Center, created the Camp Safety program several years ago after she had been repeatedly approached by parents about how to discuss personal safety with their children.

Sally based the curriculum on a program she had started in California where each day builds on the previous day and covers several issues to promote safety awareness, including bicycle and fire safety with the help of the Park City Fire Department.

The course will also address social interactions in an effort to help children identify their personal space, Sally said.

"We want to teach them to recognize what makes them feel uncomfortable or what to do when they get lost or separated from an adult," Sally said. "We'll also talk about how to work collectively and cooperatively together keeping yourself safe from bullying."

The 2016 Camp Safety program will be held Monday, Aug. 15, to Friday, Aug. 19, at Temple Har Shalom in Park City. Children who are entering kindergarten or first grade in the fall are eligible to participate in the camp, which is sponsored by the Summit County Attorney's Office, Sheriff's Office, Park City Police Department and United Against Bullying Coalition.

"How do you mitigate all of those confusing messages we give kids? We tell them not to talk to strangers, but if you are lost or something else is going on sometimes you have to," Sally said. "What we are doing is we are giving parents the tools to start having those important conversations."

Recommended Stories For You

More than 90 percent of children who are abused suffer at the hands of someone they know, Sally said, adding that "they may grow up in a loving and trusting environment which is why this is such an important camp."

The camp will address "stranger danger and keeping you private parts private," bullying and what to do if separated from an adult, Sally said. Staff with Peace House, Summit County's nonprofit domestic violence organization, will help present several of the topics.

Law enforcement officers from each agency volunteer their time throughout the week to help host the educational programs and activities. Sally said when the law enforcement officers interact closely with the children they are building trust within the community.

"The camp starts critical conversations about keeping your body safe and personal safety," Sally said. "We've had cases in the last few years involving teachers and child pornography and the earlier you can have these conversations the earlier they can identify if something isn't right or is making them uncomfortable.

"We have had so much negative stuff going around about what is happening in the schools and it's important to know we are trying to protect our children," Sally said.

Registration for the 2016 Camp Safety program closes Friday, Aug. 12. Sally said space is available for up to 30 children.

The 2016 Camp Safety program will be held from 9 a.m. until l1:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 15, through Friday, Aug. 19, at the Temple Har Shalom, 3700 Brookside Ct., in Park City. For more information, contact Christina Sally at 435-615-3829 or through email at csally@summitcounty.org.