This year's Summit County Sheriff's Camp for Green students was a success.
Previous camps had been done in cooperation with the Green High School ROTC program. This year, the ROTC opted out of the camp and it was done under the sponsorship of the Summit County Sheriff's Department and Green Schools.
The turnout was somewhat smaller with 14 students signing up. In the group were two girls from Coventry who attended the PLCC and wanted to try the camp, along with several students from Green Middle School. The remainder of the students were from Green High School.
The camp began at 5 a.m. June 6 at the Green High School gymnasium. There the students were given their equipment and an orientation session about the camp and what was expected from them. After being divided into two teams, Alpha and Bravo, they then marched from the school to the Green fire station.
At the station, firemen Gene Jorgensen and Matt Craddock gave them several classes in medical and fire procedure, along with a tour of the station. The students learned about CPR, different types of injuries and how to make a rope sling. After a lunch, the students then had the opportunity to repel from the three-story fire tower in a rope harness.
For 7th-grader Jack Gordon the jump was particularly trying.
"I had a fear of heights so this was a hard challenge for me," he said. "It seemed really high looking down three stories. I actually had fun doing it once I overcame my fear and jumped off the railing. I'm just glad I did it, and would like to do it again sometime."
In addition to the repelling the teams also took part in a medical evacuation of a dummy over an obstacle course.
The students then rode by vehicles to a point on the north side of Boettler Park and marched the remaining distance to their campsite down by the fishing pond. During the march, they were caught in a torrential downpour and arrived at the camp soaked to the bone. Because of the rain they were allowed to use the main tent as their sleeping area as the wet ground precluded setting up individual tents.
Tuesday, they were up at the crack of dawn for a long hike to the Army National Guard base on the west side of the airport. They were led by Sgt. Rob Tromp, who has been associated for several years with the program. After their arrival, the tired cadets were given a break and then taken to a classroom where they learned the basics of land navigation, including the use of a compass, how to read a map, and locating specific topographic features. They were also instructed on how to use camouflage face paint and helped each other apply the different colors.
Prior to going out for a land navigation activity, the students were visited by Green Assistant Superintendent Dan Lowmiller and Public Relations Coordinator Julie McMahan.
After their land navigation exercise, the students returned to the camp where they had the opportunity to try a jury rigged rope bridge.
Wednesday morning, the students woke up to learn how to make a fire without using matches. Sheriff's Deputy Jeff Bennett and three members of his Boy Scout troop instructed them on the proper procedure This entailed using flint and a magnesium bar to get a small fire going, then building on this.
Following breakfast, the students learned more techniques of land navigation from Bennett before trying their hand and learning the proper way to split logs. The logs being used were the old "challenge logs" from previous camps that had the names of the various students who had completed the challenge course.
As the day wound down, the two teams were sent out for "night maneuvers", each setting up a basic camp. The opposing team had to scout and report as much "intelligence on their "opposition" without being detected.
Thursday started off with a bang as Sheriff's Deputy's Dave Fatheree and Paul Wright arrived bright and early to teach classes in self defense.
After this session, Deputy Provie Tomei went over gun safety. He covered the basic types of guns and went over proper procedure for handling a loaded weapon. Only non firing dummy demonstration rounds were used and no live ammunition was on scene.
On Friday, the two teams were transported to Green Intermediate School to serve as actors for a SWAT Team exercise. (A full account of this was printed in the June 10 Suburbanite)
At graduation, each student was given a certification that he or she had completed the camp. In addition, cadets were presented the following awards: Austin Elkins was selected as the "Top Leader"; The "Most Improved" went to Jack Gordon; Darcy Elkins was awarded the "Top Performer"; The coveted "Top Cadet" award, a World War II engraved canteen, went to Ashley Ford; And the annual "Best Injury" went to Tony "Toes" Musci for his futile attempt at trying to fix an ingrown toenail with a pair of pliers, which resulted in a serious infection. Nevertheless he toughed it out and returned to finish the course with his teammates.
As the tired students looked forward to warm beds and hot showers all baskets in the reflection of what they had accomplished and what their immediate plans were.
"I plan to take money out of my account and buy lots of food at Kentucky Fried Chicken," said Austin Elkins.
"I just want to go home and drive my cute little convertible," said Lauren Eubank.