NEWBURYPORT — Later this month and into August, the local police department will be offering youngsters an unique opportunity to spend part of their summer vacations at a mini-camp staffed by police officers inside the Bresnahan Elementary School.
Camp founder, Officer Christopher McDonald said the three-day camp will feature games, activities and a chance to learn more about how officers and firefighters do their jobs. What it won’t be, the father of three youngsters said, is a boot camp.
“It’s all about having fun,” McDonald said.
The three-day camp runs from Wednesday, July 31, through Friday, Aug. 2, during the height of Yankee Homecoming, and is free of charge. Enrollment is limited to about 30 campers ranging in age from 6 to 10. Should poor weather descend upon the region during the camp, activities will be held inside the school, located just off High Street.
McDonald said the idea for a mini summer camp came after his experience at a summer camp in Groveland. But instead of organizing a typical summer experience, McDonald said he wanted to incorporate elements of his profession so campers could become more familiar with police officers.
“We, as adults and parents teach our kids to deal with police,” McDonald said, adding that it is sometimes better for children to see police officers as regular people as opposed to the men and women who respond to traffic accidents, 911 calls and other emergencies.
McDonald’s message is echoed in a publicity flyer: “We want them to know that we just don’t write tickets and arrest bad guys!”
Starting at 8:30 a.m. each day, campers will get an opportunity to inspect police cruisers and a fire engine, along with other emergency response equipment. Later in the morning, officers will organize games of kickball, Four Square, Capture the Flag and other activities. But McDonald stressed that officers will be playing along with them, not merely watching from the sidelines.