Singing songs, riding a horse for the first time, and roasting marshmallows over the fire are things that every child who goes to summer camp gets to experience. The Iowa State Sheriffs and Deputies’ Association believes that these are things that every kid should get to do and for several decades, sheriffs and deputies from Iowa counties have been sponsoring one to two children to go to the Des Moines Y Camp. While at camp, those kids get to participate in traditional camp programs: like riding horses, roasting marshmallows, and singing songs around a campfire. In addition to those fun activities, they learn about good character and the value of friendship.
The Des Moines Y Camp places extra emphasis on the importance of being a well-rounded person; strong in spirit, mind and body. The message revolves around the core values of honesty, caring, respect and responsibility. Along with the excitement of riding a horse for the first time, hitting the bullseye in archery, feeling the slime of a frog and flying down the waterslide, campers who came to camp learned about the value of being a good friend, the power of confidence and the importance of doing good, always. Those lessons and experiences helped them grow into positive community leaders and they would not have been possible if not for the ISSDA program.
In the summer of 2018, the ISSDA sponsored 126 kids to come and experience Y Camp. Kids who had never been to camp before had an opportunity to grow, learn and have fun. They came back equipped with more confidence and skills to lead their communities with inspired and positive mental attitudes. It was only with the generosity of each participating county that the same kids that these sheriffs work with were able to grow as individuals. When these kids leave camp, they leave energized, passionate, and equipped to make a difference in their community. When they leave camp they drive under a sign that says, “do all the good you can,” a message that will ring true in all of our ears as we work to make the world a better, safer and happier place.