Camp helping middle schoolers, law enforcement build positive relationship

By Colter Anstaett - Southside Bureau Reporter

DANVILLE (WSLS10) - Dozens of middle schoolers participated in a team building exercise at Dan Daniel Memorial Park on Monday morning.

The first challenge was to work together to balance a platform on a log while standing on the platform.

It was one of three activities they participated in at the park.

"Having Virginia law enforcement involved, it gives kids an opportunity to talk with law enforcement from a positive standpoint," Alicia Hightower, one of the camp's co-directors, pointed out.

That's the whole point of Virginia Rules Camp, to help kids and members of law enforcement build positive relationships with one another.

The camp is offered through the state attorney general's office and law enforcement agencies apply for grant money from the office to pay for the camp in their town, city, or county.

Danville was awarded about $5,000, primarily to pay for busing the kids to and from camp and to feed them breakfast and lunch.

"We actually have different activities that we do each day. We broke it up into five groups," explained Hightower.

After the platform challenge, the kids had to work together to walk along cables suspended above the ground.

Silas Crews, a school resource officer, helped the kids work through their activities.

"We're here at Virginia Rules and as school resource officers to show that our door is always open; to show [the kids] that we are your friend, not there just to put you in jail," Crews emphasized.

His main focus this week will be talking to the kids about the negative consequences of getting involved in a gang.

"At this age where they're at right now, in middle school," Crews said, "they're easy to be influenced. We got people out there that I say prey on young people."

He plans to have a class this week to talk about gangs.

The kids ended their trip to the park with a trip down the zip line.

They will also get to take tours of the police department, fire department, courthouse and jail and go fishing and swimming this week.  

Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved