Summit County Children’s Justice Center’s offers safety camp for children | ParkRecord.com

Summit County Children’s Justice Center’s offers safety camp for children

Law enforcement agencies team up to promote safety awareness

Christina Sally, lead investigator with the Summit County Children's Justice Center, created the Camp Safety program several years ago after she recognized the need to educate children about protecting themselves.

Sally based the curriculum on programs she started in California where each day builds on the previous one and covers several issues to promote safety awareness, including bicycle and fire safety with the help of other agencies.

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

"Camp presents very sensitive topics from a credible, outside source," Sally said. "Some conversations are very difficult for parents to have and the benefit to this is that it starts these open dialogues and takes away the reluctance to talk about it.

"Some may even feel if you don't talk about it, it won't happen," she said. "But, it's very important to have these conversations with your children so they can recognize early on if something is uncomfortable or not right."

The 2017 Camp Safety program will be held Monday, Aug. 14, to Friday, Aug. 18, at Temple Har Shalom in Park City. Children who are entering kindergarten or first grade in the fall are eligible to participate. The camp is sponsored by the Summit County Attorney's Office, Sheriff's Office, Park City Police Department and United Against Bullying Coalition and costs $90. However, Sally said financial assistance may be available for those who need it.

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Law enforcement officers from each agency volunteer their time 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 has an overriding anti-bullying theme because research shows that kids who are bullied have a higher risk of victimization as they get older so we focus on that the first day," Sally said. "And then every day we build on the previous day."

On the second day of camp, children participate in a bicycle and pedestrian safety course, Sally said, adding that extra bicycles and helmets are available for attendees.

"The third day we discuss fire safety and practice those skills," Sally said. "The fourth day is about keeping your body safe and how to resist any types of pressures. The final day we go over what to do if you are lost or separated from a trusted adult and that culminates the week because if you are lost or separated you may have to approach someone you don't know."

Sally said parents are notified daily about topics that are discussed via email to encourage an open dialogue.

"It's just a really fun week and I think it gives them a lot of tools entering into elementary school," Sally said. "Research shows that most children who are abused, it starts from the age of 3 until about the age of 10. The sooner that we can talk to kids about keeping themselves safe the more likely they are to disclose it."

Registration for the 2017 Camp Safety program closes Saturday, Aug. 12. Sally said space is available for up to 30 children.

The 2017 Camp Safety program will be held from 9 a.m. until l1:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 14, through Friday, Aug. 18, 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.