Counterdrug Task Force assisting with summer camps throughout Virginia

Kids from Patrich and Pulaski counties were mentored by Guardsman during Boot Camp class at 4-H camp June 21-25, 2010, at Smith Mountain Lake. During the camp the Virginia Counterdrug Taskforce's Drug Demand Reduction team also gave a presentation on the harmful effects of gateway drugs. (Photos by 2nd Lt. J. Erin Jones, Virginia Counterdrug Taskforce Public Affairs)

RICHMOND, Va. — The days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer. Soon Virginia’s youth will be out of school for the summer and driving their parents crazy. Not to fear, the season of the summer camp is here, and the Virginia National Guard Counterdrug Task Force has partnered with numerous summer camps to deliver valuable information and life lessons on the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

“The ultimate goal is to provide the campers with the tools necessary to make good decisions,” said Master Sgt. Daniel Dolan, a community outreach non-commissioned officer with Counterdrug’s Civil Operations, formerly known as Drug Demand Reduction, program.

Soldiers from Counterdrug get their message out to campers in a variety of ways including a “Gateway Drugs” presentation given to the entire camp, and an optional “Boot Camp” that the kids can sign up for.

“In the ‘Boot Camp’, campers are taught a few basic military disciplines such as drill and ceremonies, respect, team building, leadership development, physical fitness, basic land navigation, and sometimes a mini-obstacle course,” said Dolan. “Many of the campers begin the process of building self confidence as well as learning how to work together as a team to accomplish a task or mission.”

Counterdrug personnel are also on hand throughout the entire camp serving as good role models.  “The primary role of the CD program is to promote drug-free living while providing positive adult role models that many of these campers might be missing at home,” said Dolan.

Last year Counterdrug reached close to 700 campers with its “Gateway Drugs” presentation during four weeks of camp. Presenting themselves as authoritative figures in uniform, Counterdrug personnel quickly capture the attention of campers and keep it through the use of props and military equipment. This combination makes for a lasting impression on campers and can result in a lifelong positive impact.

This summer Counterdrug is scheduled to participate in the following camps:

June 4-8 Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Nottoway Counties 4-H Camp at Holiday Lake
June 11-15 Patrick and Pulaski Counties 4-H Camp at Smith Mt. Lake
June 18-22 Floyd, Craig and Montgomery Counties 4-H Camp at Smith Mt. Lake
July 16-20 Henry County and Martinsville City 4-H Camp at Smith Mt. Lake
July 23-27 Bedford and Pittsylvania Counties 4-H Camp at Smith Mt. Lake
July 29-August 3 Military Family Support Youth Camp at the State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach
August 20-24 Virginia Rules Camp at Camp Little Hawk

For information on how to enroll:
Holiday Lake camp: http://www.holidaylake4h.com/about4hcamp.php
Smith Mt Lake camps: http://www.skelton4hcenter.org/
Military Family Support Youth Camp: vangyouth@gmail.com
Virginia Rules Camp: Campers are recruited by the Richmond Police Department