By: James Pruitt
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
For three days nearly 200 Williams County youth discovered there was a world outside of their homes and their electronic devices.
And in the process they learned new games, made new friends and set the stage for a chance to grow into leaders.
The setting for all this was the 2016 DARE Camp. The camp was organized through the Williams County Sheriff’s Office and held at various locations throughout the county, but mostly at the Superior Athletic Complex in Montpelier.
Deputy Paul McCord is the sheriff’s DARE officer and he preparing for his fourth school year. The camp offers several mental and physical challenges for campers in a competitive setting. The goal is to show them how to make healthy choices for their lives.
The camp has 185 kids in grades 4-7 and 50 junior and senior high school students who served as role models for the younger set. About 15-16 adults spent all or part of the time at the camp as chaperones.
“Their job was to keep things busy at camp,” McCord said.
The campers got a chance to go bowling, swim in the pool and play games such as archery tag. The game helped to develop teamwork and agility.
There was also dodgeball, human foosball and a host of other activities.
“It was a non-electronic camp,” McCord said “It was an opportunity to do something other than video games.”
This was the second DARE camp and McCord said the pattern was similar both years. The campers were a little standoffish at first, but by the second or third day, they were making new friends and networking with the role models.
“They were given a chance to flourish,” McCord said.
The camp reflects the updates to the DARE program, he said. The goal is to help kids make better decisions about their lives. As a result, the campers were divided into 16 teams and were rewarded for spirit and motivation.
“They were to get involved and have a good time while doing it,” McCord said.
James Pruitt may be reached at