On July 8 and 9, 150 local children gathered at SBM Fire Station 3 for the comprehensive educational program. Organized by the Blaine Police, SBM Fire and Blaine Parks and Recreation departments, Safety Camp is designed to reduce the number of accidents and injuries among young children while providing the skills needed to manage emergency situations. The two-day Safety Camp went precisely as planned, instructing campers on a variety of safety-related topics ranging from first aid to brain injury prevention while mixing in enough fun and excitement to make the experience one the children will never forget!
The camp counselors – firefighters, paramedics, police officers and parks and recreation staff – were invaluable contributors to the Safety Camp experience. In a fun twist, the professional identity of each counselor was withheld from the kids to set up a surprise reveal at the awards ceremony at the end of camp.
Safety Camp kicked off with three successive morning programs. First, Don Bania Jr., an annual guest at Blaine’s and other Minnesota safety camps, shared his inspiring story. Don is a quadriplegic as a result of a motorcycle accident, who developed his artistic skill by learning to raw with his mouth. He also revealed to campers that he designed and drew the Safety Camp logo on their camp shirts. Then, campers were taught about internet safety and the dangers associated with talking to people online and sharing personal information. The morning was complete with an engaging and interactive bully prevention program.
After a hearty lunch and dancing off extra energy to music from a deejay, campers jumped right into four afternoon sessions. Representatives from Mercy and Unity Hospitals hosted an interactive sports injury prevention and first aid presentation. Then, workers with Connexus Energy displayed the hazards and deadly power of electricity in a shocking electrical safety presentation. The afternoon sessions ended with an appearance by an SBM Fire Department firefighter showing how to react in case of a home fire.
To end the day, magician Brian Richards entertained children with his energizing and entertaining “Drugs Steal the Magic” act.
The next morning picked up where the previous day left off. First, a bicycle stunt professional used his bicycle and message to inspire students to live out their dreams through determination, goal achievement, drug awareness, peer pressure, and wearing a helmet. Next, an animal expert shared several creatures with campers while discussing animal safety.
Campers also were trained in personal safety, learning about the buddy system, checking first, and listening to your uh-oh feeling.
Before lunch, Blaine Police Officer Greg Rowe and his K9 partner Gunner, Officer Reggie Larson and his K9 partner Rex, and Officer Mark Allen and his K9 partner Remy, treated campers to a drug sniff and criminal apprehension demonstration. Afterward, children were allowed to meet Gunner and give him a pat on the back.
A pizza lunch energized the campers for a fun afternoon of water safety at Roosevelt Community Pool. Upon returning, all campers were measured for booster seats and fitted for bike helmets. One of the goals of Safety Camp this year was to educate parents on the state’s booster seat law, which requires children to sit in booster seats if under specific height and weight guidelines. Bike helmets and instruction on a proper fit have been given to campers at each Safety Camp since the beginning of the program 18 years ago. That totals more than 2,500 bike helmets provided for Blaine children to ensure safe bicycling.
After the two busy days of safety education, it was time to surprise the campers with the true identity of their counselors and for campers to relax and be rewarded for their dedication to keeping themselves and their families and friends safe. Campers were presented with a medal and certificate proclaiming successful completion of 2014 Blaine Safety Camp at an awards ceremony, emergency vehicle display, and ice cream social at Spring Lake Park High School.
Blaine Safety Services thanks the many employees, volunteers and sponsors for making 2014 Safety Camp an extraordinary success. A special thank you also goes out to all the campers for their enthusiastic participation.
Information about 2015 Safety Camp will be available in the Parks and Recreation Department’s summer 2015 Recreation Connection next March.