Police-Led Summer Camps Teach Children Valuable Lessons

Kids can have a blast at summer camp while also acquiring important life skills at two police-led camps this summer. Both camps, instructed by the familiar face of DARE Officer Bob, offer a blend of fun and education.

safety-nl424-10 - CopySafety Town

The Safety Town program in Maryland Heights was established thirty-four years ago. While some aspects have evolved over the decades, such as the introduction of electronic kid-sized cars, the core curriculum remains focused on teaching essential safety awareness and preventative measures. 

Lessons include the importance of signals and signs, as well as proper seatbelt use. Kids will be introduced to the Safety Town track and taught to stay on the "roadways," obeying signals and signs placed around the track. The dangers of home poisons lesson involves a show-and-tell with Officer Bob, displaying several examples of common household items that kids should not touch. Special guest visitors, such as the MHPD K-9 unit and the Fire District, will stop by to teach kids about using caution with animals and fire safety.

Along with other lessons on stranger danger and pedestrian safety, one of the last things kids participate in is the lesson on bus safety – complete with a ride on a real school bus to a nearby park. For many preschoolers, this marks their first ride in a bus and helps prepare them for kindergarten and beyond. Safety Town concludes with a graduation ceremony where children showcase the lessons they've learned and receive their official certificates, alongside plenty of photo opportunities with Officer Bob.

"Safety Town is an incredible collaboration between the Police and Parks and Recreation Departments to bring safe, healthy play to our community's youngest members," states Officer Bob. "Children learn best when they are entertained and we use a unique mixture of guest speakers and hands-on lessons to drive home safety lessons that parents can continue at home. I love the enthusiasm of the young students and they come in each day eager to learn."

BK 5100 edited - CopyPlay it Safe

Play it Safe, an offshoot of Safety Town, tailored for older children, was developed in response to feedback from kids. Also instructed by Officer Bob, the program revisits the Safety Town curriculum, reinforcing crucial safety lessons. One notable addition for the older group is a session on water safety held at Aquaport, providing children with a private swim practice before the park opens to the public.

"I've found with the Play it Safe kids, the important lessons taught from Safety Town are quickly recalled. Having this refresher course helps these valuable lessons become solidified," says Officer Bob. 

The Maryland Heights Police Department is proud of the long-running success of these programs. "Both Safety Town and Play it Safe offer peace of mind to parents, knowing their children are learning essential safety skills from a trained police officer," said Public Relations Officer McComas. "We provide a fun and interactive way for kids to learn about safety. The programs are designed to empower children to make smart decisions in real-life scenarios."

Opportunities are also available for high school counselors to assist Officer Bob with the classes. "The teenage counselors and myself quickly form bonds with these amazing young people," says Officer Bob. "Two weeks just fly by. It's a rewarding and fun way to spend my summer and if I'm lucky, I get to see the kiddos at my schools in the fall."

These two summer camps have limited space, so it's best to sign up early! Both camps take place at the Maryland Heights Community Center, 2300 McKelvey Rd. Parents are able to register in-person at the Community Center or online at www.marylandheights.com/webtrac. 

Safety Town
June 10 - June 21
Monday - Friday
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Ages 3-5
Members/Residents: $50
Non-Residents: $67

Play It Safe
July 8 - July 12
Monday - Friday
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Ages 6-8
Members/Residents: $35
Non-Residents: $47