Bugs, heat don’t curb fun: Kids have a blast at Sheriff’s Office camp

Ryan Wenner, from left, Bradley Forman, Cody Mitchell, and Sydney Collins lead their squad members in a game of tug-of war. Briahnna Brown/Daily

STRASBURG — The sweltering summer heat hasn’t stopped some middle school students from enjoying some outdoor activities this week.

More than 80 area sixth, seventh and eighth graders participated in the 19th annual Frederick County Sheriff’s Office’s Youth Camp, which is free for the kids and funded by the annual Kevin Manion Memorial Run and donations from the community.

The camp runs for one week, and the kids stay on the grounds of the Tri-State Christian Service Camp. They enjoy activities like swimming, fishing, archery, shooting at a range, horseback riding and other outdoor sports. Camp counselors and personnel from the Sheriff’s Office help the kids complete the activities every day.

“Everything we do is just to try to make it a very special event for the kids,” Frederick County Sheriff Lenny Millholland said. “The weather’s been hot but they’ve enjoyed it.”

On a muggy Thursday morning, the kids went head to head in their different groups in a game of tug-of-war. They didn’t let the bugs or the heat slow them down, and they were giving their all in trying to beat the opposing team.

Ben Smith, 14, is one of the first up to kick in a late-morning kickball game against camp counselors. Briahnna Brown/Daily

Cody Mitchell, 11, was pulling the rope with all his might as his squad tried to win the match. Even though his team didn’t win this time, he said he still had a lot of fun.

“I really liked how we got to go against different squads, and how we could test some of our other friends from other squads and compare each other,” Cody said.

Sydney Collins, 14, was on the same team as Cody, and said she also had fun during tug-of-war.

Ryan Wenner, 11, another camper on the team, said that his favorite activity so far has been the luau, a Hawaiian-themed party many of the campers enjoyed. He also said that he’s looking forward to the dance they have on the last night, and anticipates that it will be even better than the luau.

“Last year the dance was pretty awesome, and this is the first time they did the luau so they had to test it,” Ryan said.

Bradley Forman, 11, a newcomer to the camp, said that he has enjoyed the activities the camp has to offer.

“I like this camp,” Bradley said. “I think I’m gonna come here next year too.”

For the law enforcement officers participating in the camp, it’s all about building a relationship with the children so that they can have a positive interactions with police when they become adults, Millholland said.

“That’s our future,” Millholland said, pointing to the campers. “If we do something to curve them in a direction that is positive and they treat people positive, then you’ll get positive results.”

“What we do with them has a positive impact on their future,” he added.