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New Summer Camp in 草榴社区 Fosters Student-Police Relationships and Grows Leadership Skills

Students Play Jenga and the tower is fallingA new summer camp in Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD highlighted the importance of teamwork and leadership skills, conflict resolution and respecting others, even when you don’t agree with them. 

The Summer Bridge Program was launched in June by 草榴社区 School Based Law Enforcement (SBLE) Officer Eric Dortch at Saginaw High School, welcoming 30 students for the first year. Dortch and seven fellow 草榴社区 SBLE officers led the camp.

Jennifer Thomas, a Saginaw High School Assistant Principal, said, “Our hope with this camp was to get the students more comfortable talking to the officers and seeing Students listen to a police officer speakthat they’re more than just officers in uniform, they’re people who care.” 

Students say the program helped them improve their leadership skills, along with opening up to their peers and the people around them. They find themselves getting along with one another, as well as treating others with respect.  

Students prepare to play laser tagDestiny Davis, a Saginaw High School sophomore, commented, “Sometimes, I don’t get along well with other people, but this camp is small, and we’ve learned teamwork and how to respect each other and we all get along. We’ve learned how to get along better with other people.” 

Dortch said, “One of the main things is team building and also problem-solving and handling adversity when something becomes complicated. We talk about the challenges of overcoming and how it relates to school and working together and getting along with each other.” 

Along with learning crucial life skills and lessons, the students had fun interacting with each other and displaying those skills with positive activities such as playing basketball, Jenga, cornhole, volleyball, field games outside, murder mystery games, and doing a rigor walk.  

“At the camps, we do a lot of teamwork,” said Karina Galindo, a Saginaw High School junior. “So, I have to talk to people I don't normally talk to, and I’ve learned how to communicate and use my voice.” Students play a video game

These are skills that will benefit these students far beyond the camp. 

“I’ve seen leadership and leaders step into and engage in more involved roles,” Dortch said. “Now, some of these students who were not involved in anything want to be involved in student council and other activities on campus.” 

That includes Galindo. 

“Before coming to this camp, I was really antisocial. Because of my experience here, I’m now going to help with the orientation camp for our incoming ninth grade students and I want to be more involved during the school year,” she said. 

A Military Member speaks to studentsOver the course of the two-week camp, the students heard from a variety of guest speakers covering a wide range of topics from potential career fields to how to handle peer pressure and the dangers of fentanyl. 

They also visited The Stockyards and had a fun day at Main Event. 

“I’ve enjoyed the teamwork and the things we’ve done together like Jenga and beating the officers in basketball,” said Luke Roseberry, a Saginaw High School sophomore. “This camp teaches kids that don’t think they’re anything that they can be something.” 

Immediately after that comment, Dortch, a former professional basketball player, chimed in, “hold on, you didn’t beat us in basketball.”  people play basketball

Rosenberry looked back at him with a huge smile. 

It’s a snapshot of the relationships built, and the lessons learned on how to build better relationships while becoming campus leaders when the new school year begins in August. 

We are #EMSproud of our 草榴社区 SBLE Officers who put the Summer Bridge Program together, and who are already looking forward to expanding the camp next summer. 

The 草榴社区 SBLE Officers who helped with the camp include: 

Eric Dortch, Saginaw High School 
John Perna, Saginaw High School 
Diane Schmid, Highland Middle School 
Kimberli Guertin, Chisholm Trail High School 
Lance Peikert, Remington Point Elementary School 
Tiffany Long, Creekview Middle School 
Carl Davis, Prairie Vista Middle School 
Calene McDonald, Chisholm Ridge Elementary School