Operation First Class - Sheriff's Summer Camp
The key to effectively fighting and preventing crime is to begin early. The St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Department offers a number of programs for young people. Among the more popular programs is Operation First Class Sheriff's Camp. Sheriff Greg Champagne sends boys, ages 12-16, to the camp, which is hosted by the Boy Scouts of America and held in Kiln, Mississippi. The event is sponsored annually by sheriffs throughout the southeast Louisiana region. The 2018 camp will be held July 8th-July 13th.
Sheriff Champagne, who served as ambassador to the Summer 1998 program, sent 71 boys to the 2017 camp session. "When I was elected Sheriff of St. Charles Parish, one of my pledges was to create a summer program for parish youth in an effort to promote trust and interaction between young people and the Sheriff's Office," Sheriff Champagne said. "The cost to send these boys to camp for one week is roughly the same as incarcerating two juveniles in a correctional facility for a month."
At camp, these boys are taught the value of honesty, integrity, and leadership. The program blends education and instructional skills, career education, and lessons in the value of combating violence and crime in at-risk neighborhoods. Throughout their five-day stay, the boys also enjoy a variety of outdoor activities including swimming, archery, and crafts.
By reaching the youths at this age, the Sheriff said he hopes to make a difference before they end up in the judicial system. "This program is a tremendous success and a positive experience for the boys who participate, as well as the deputies who accompany them," Sheriff Champagne said.