Because of funding from local sheriffs’ departments, more than 50 local children had the chance to experience summer camp last week, several area officials said Monday.
According to Otsego County Sheriff Richard Devlin Jr., 18 children from Otsego county attended The New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institute’s Summer Camp last week, located on Keuka Lake near Penn Yan in Yates County. The camp offers a great opportunity for less fortunate children, he said.
“The primary objective is to create a positive interaction between the kids attending camp and the sheriffs and deputy sheriffs who participate in the camp programs,” Devlin said. “We have found from experience during the first 37 summers that the kids develop a renewed respect and understanding for the men and women who enforce our laws.”
In addition, the deputies at camp become friends of the children, and in some cases, stand-in parents, Devlin said.
The Sheriffs’ Summer Camp program was created 38 years ago to provide a solid recreational program for economically disadvantaged boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 12, according to the camp’s website. Because of economic reasons, these children would not normally have an opportunity to attend such a summer camp or enjoy a summer vacation.
The camp, a former YMCA camp, is designed to foster a sense of good citizenship among children. It is supported financially by the Sheriffs’ Association’s Honorary Members through their contributions and annual dues, according to a recent media release. This year, more than 900 boys and girls from across New York attended the camp, which took place from June 29 until July 5.
According to Lisa Papa, senior account clerk for the Delaware County Sheriff’s Department, more than 23 Delaware County children also attended the camp this year.
Papa said children are chosen based on their families’ economic standing. She sends letters out to area schools, asking them to forward the invitation to apply to children they think would be a good fit for the camp, she said.