Cops and Kids Share Extreme Sports Camp

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG)  |  Story and photos by Susan Maxwell Skinner
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Citrus Heights Police this week joined The Police Athletic League to provide a youth summer sports program. Uniformed instructors and 80 children celebrated graduation after four days of athletics and leadership instruction.

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Assemblyman Ken Cooley (center) provided flap-jack skills as he and police staffers served breakfasts to 70 young athletes.

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Citrus Heights Police Activities League last week wrapped up a debut “Extreme Sports Camp” at San Juan High School. Aged from 7 to 15, kids from Citrus Heights, Carmichael and Orangevale matched athletic skills for four days. Police staffers coached teams for karate, basketball, soccer, dance and cheer-leading.

Aimed to aid community relations, the PAL program enticed 70 students back to school during the hottest days of their summer break. “We created a fun atmosphere,” said camp director Lt. Jason Russo. “We also included sessions to promote good life decisions and leadership.”

Priced at $50 per athlete, a four-day curriculum included meals and culminated in a graduation day pancake breakfast. For this event, Assemblyman Ken Cooley provided cooking grills and flipped hundreds of flapjacks. Joining the VIP chef, uniformed police officers were quickly batter-splattered by the process. “Police work can get messy,” conceded an officer. “Fortunately, we have a great drycleaner.”

The camp’s final afternoon included displays by SWAT, motorcycle and K-9 units.  In 100-plus heat, Sacramento Metro Fire Department contributed the best diversion: an invitation for kids to run through gushing fire hoses. “Some of our officers partook, too,” reported Russo. “Everyone wanted to cool down.

“Smiling faces told us our program was a success. The kids tried sports they might not otherwise had opportunities to play. They were respectful and disciplined. We hope some might develop an interest in police work; our staff embraced the opportunity to connect with young people who are our future.”

Citrus Heights PAL plan to repeat the Extreme Sports Camp in 2019.

Program sponsors include: Walmart; Sam’s Club; Grocery Outlet; Home Depot; Citrus Heights Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs; San Juan School District; Assemblyman Ken Cooley. Learn about the program at www.citrusheightspal.com