“Tobacco has nicotine in it, and that’s bad for you,” said the 12-year-old when asked what he has learned at camp.
The juxtaposition was not odd at this week’s D.A.R.E. Summer Camp, which mixes fun activities with educational programs about the importance of not using drugs.
Participants at Shannon Elementary School spend the morning rotating through sports, crafts, a tobacco-prevention program and a team-building lesson. In the afternoons, the 65 participants have gone to the movies, to a Memphis Redbirds game and to the city swimming pool.
For Wes Newtwon, 10, of Saltillo, the best part of the camp was the trip to the baseball game. For Kyler and for Detrick Anderson, 10, of Shannon, it was getting to play dodge ball.
“I like this camp,” Detrick said. “It is a lot of exercise.”
Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or D.A.R.E., is an educational program that tries to help students avoid drugs, gangs and violence. During the school year, D.A.R.E. representatives teach a certain curriculum in classrooms.
The summer camp, in its 18th year in Lee County, allows D.A.R.E. educators to interact with the students in a more relaxed setting.
“We want them to learn team-building and relationship-building and strengthen their character,” said Lt. Sheri Hall of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. Hall, who teaches D.A.R.E. courses, organizes the camp. A similar camp was held at Saltillo Elementary School last week and another one will be at Mooreville Elementary the week of June 25. All three camps draw students from locations throughout the county. Thanks to a grant, they are free and open to rising second- to seventh-graders.
“In the summertime, there is a lot of time for an idle mind,” said Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson. “We see what happens when kids don’t have something to keep their mind occupied, and this can help.”