It is the first summer for the Dothan Police Department and Dothan Leisure Services’ Police Athletic League. Week one proved a success, and 65 children poured into the Wiregrass Recreation Center for week two.
The counselors are school resource officers, and the children will see them walking the halls in just a few years.
“The program’s going great. At some point during their school career, they [the children] will see those officers here,” said Sgt. Ronnie Anderson of the Dothan Police Department.
Children ages seven to 14 play our 5-0.
“The funny thing is, we're trying to figure out how to get them to exercise and we're having to keep up with them,” laughed Thomas Davis, a school resource officer with the Dothan Police Department.
Each day is a different activity. They play everything from dodge ball, basketball, and even volleyball. However, the officers do not only play—they instill values.
"You fill their minds with positive instead of negative things that they see every day. And that's what we're doing; trying to give them something positive to work with,” said Davis.
And it is clear, they are mentors.
“They’re nice. They help us out when we're in trouble,” said a camper.
"When we first got out here we were playing kickball like we're doing now, and one of them says, 'you’re a police officer?’ I said ‘I sure am'. He says 'Wow!' So, right there that just speaks volumes,” explained Jim Matheny, a school resource officer with the Dothan Police Department.
“They help us do fun stuff. They get all the snacks together for us. They do everything they can,” said Sierra Anderson, a 10-year-old camper.
The campers are excited they have six more weeks. The eight-week program ends in July.