Kentucky detention center runs summer camp for youth
Organizers want campers to learn how "living the right path" can put them in a position of leadership
By Carla Slavey
SOMERSET, Ky. — When most parents think about sending their kids to a summer camp, they might not automatically think about one conducted by the local jail.
Yet, the Pulaski County Detention Center hosted a summer camp this week that was all about fun, adventure and friendship.
Sgt. Nikki Weaver, a deputy jailer with PCDC, organized the summer camp which saw 25 kids get to travel around the state.
They got to see the Old County Jail and Civil War Museum in Bardstown, Mammoth Cave and the Louisville Slugger Museum in northern Kentucky, and Treetop Adventure in London.
The week finished off with a meet and greet with local first responders that included police officers, firefighters, EMS personnel and Air Methods.
And the kids did, indeed, get a tour of PCDC as well, Weaver said.
"We came up to the jail so they could see what the jail's like — what they don't want to do."
In contrast, the camp administrators want to show the kids what kind of jobs are out there for them, and show them how "living the right path" can put them in a position of leadership, Weaver said.
Jailer Anthony McCollum said the camp was one way to build up the community by having a positive impact on its youth.
"I think the youth of our community is an investment that we need to put some effort into," he said. "With these camps, they have positive role models and [the leaders] have a positive impact on them. And hopefully they'll take what they've learned and apply it to their lives later on, to grow up to be good community leaders and something the community can be proud of."
Weaver said her inspiration for creating the camp came from going on her own school field trips as a child.
"A lot of kids don't get to have that opportunity today, so I wanted them to see things they might not be able to," she said. "My main goal is for them to have fun and to meet new people and make new friends."
The campers come from all over the county, from all of the public school districts, from Somerset Christian School and from homeschooling. That means they had an opportunity to meet people their own age they might not normally cross paths with.
"It's been a fun-filled week. I can't stress enough just how much fun it's been," Weaver said.
"I couldn't do without the backing of Jailer McCollum and the help of my fellow deputies and our interns," she added.
Conducting the camp this year was Weaver; deputies Haylee Ridner, James Dalton and Morgan Helton; intern Erin Atwell; and front office staff Lauren Miller.
While PCDC was the largest sponsor, the camp was helped by the Jeremy A. Bartley Law Office, Forcht Bank, Walmart, Hurt Farm Bureau, Quest Counseling, Don Franklin, Tree Top Construction, TransAmerica, Cumberland Security Bank, Chick-Fil-A, Goodwill, Bramble Chiropractic, Modern Distributors, Somerset Wood Products, Mustard Seed and Kellwell Food Management.
(c)2022 the Commonwealth Journal (Somerset, Ky.)