Get Ready for Camp!

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File:US Army 52098 Camp Gives Kids Taste of Deployment.jpgUndoubtedly many elementary, middle school and high school students are counting down the days until the final school bell rings for summer vacation. Maybe you’re one of those students daydreaming about how you’re going to spend the next two months; or perhaps you’re a parent trying to figure out how you’re going to keep your kids busy and entertained.

What about summer camp? We’re not talking about the kind where you sing songs around the campfire and play pranks on your cabin mates (although those kinds of camps are also great!) We’re talking about criminal justice camps, especially if YOU or your son or daughter has said “police officer,” “lawyer,” “forensic scientist,” “correctional officer,” “FBI Agent” … when asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

WHEN?

Register RIGHT now! You’ll find some registration dates have already passed, but others are still accepting participants for their criminal justice camps taking place in July or August.

WHAT TYPES?

There are a range of criminal justice summer camp options out there (both day and overnight camps) for a variety of age groups, from elementary to high school.

  • Law Enforcement Camps: Campers get to learn the ins and outs of a law enforcement career. Activities may include meeting with officers and detectives, simulated career-related activities, demonstrations (such as K-9 unit procedures), ride-alongs, marching drills, tours of the department, visiting law enforcement museums and other field trips. Some law enforcement camps are specialized with certain goals in mind, such as positive leadership, teambuilding or public service.
  • Mock Trial Camps: Campers learn and practice legal skills taught by mentors, teachers and guest speakers (i.e. lawyers, judges, etc); the culminating activity is a full-fledged mock trial.
  • Forensic Science Camps: Campers get hands-on forensic science experience through tours and learning techniques in the lab, investigating simulated crime scenes, etc.
  • Criminal Justice: Some summer camps encompass all major elements of the criminal justice system where campers attend field trips (such as a courtroom, forensics lab, prison and law enforcement department), hear from guest speakers representing a variety of professions and watch simulated demonstrations (such as a search & rescue scenario or a SWAT operation). Camps for high school students may take it one step further, helping campers determine which career might be a best fit.
  • And More!

WHERE?

Many local, state and sometimes even federal law enforcement departments, as well as colleges and universities offer criminal justice themed camps. Contact the police/sheriff departments and schools in your area to find out what programs they offer to students and the community. You might also want to search for relevant organizations, such as your state’s Bar Association, a forensic science institute or a criminal justice non-profit.

If you are no longer in primary/secondary school, there are other ways to get involved with criminal justice summer camps, such as volunteering to be a camp counsellor; or leading an activity/teaching a skill as part of the camp’s itinerary. Some departments, schools and organizations also offer programs (like workshops and police academies) for adults too.

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