Four-day event was a collaboration between the City’s Police Department, the Department of Recreation and Parks, the Bureau of Fire and City Public Schools

Hopewell — The 7th annual Hopewell Police Department summer camp engaged children aged 8 to 12 with organized sports, games, arts & crafts, physical fitness, special projects & programs, swimming and field trips.

The four-day event was offered for free to residents of Hopewell lasting from Aug. 12 to Aug. 15.

The collaboration between the City’s Police Department, the Department of Recreation and Parks, the Bureau of Fire and Hopewell City Public Schools provided 23 children with a fun way to spend their summer vacation.

The Hopewell Fire Department made a special appearance on the first day of camp.

The fire department provided the smoke house, brought attention to the kids to have an evacuation plan in case of a fire, and they taught them techniques on how to stay low, test heat on doors, etc., according to camp coordinator Sgt. Shea Richardson.

On the second day of camp, School Resource Officer Lawrence Costello commented about the camp, “So far so good. The camp provides a positive image for the kids to see a different aspect of a policeman. It helps build relationships within the community.”

Hopewell Recreation & Parks Summer Assistant/Camp Counselor Jaleelah Harris shared, “This is my first time volunteering. I love it a lot! I love the kids, and over the summer the kids don’t have a lot to do. I love how camps keep them occupied over the summer.”

Eleven-year-old Dominick De La Cerda stated with great excitement, “This is my fifth camp. I like all the fun games and challenges we do…and, meeting new friends.”

When asked what his favorite activity was so far, De La Cerda answered, “Everything!”

This reporter was offered a quote four times by Demetrius “DJ” McFarlin who wanted to share his excitement about the program.

“This camp is fun! I’m enjoying meeting new friends and doing different things. My favorite thing we did today was tye-dying shirts. I love meeting new people. I’m looking forward to swimming tomorrow. It’s going to be fun,” stated McFarlin.

“The dance-off the Recs & Park are having tomorrow will be fun,” said Harris.

Finch shared, “Tomorrow, we’re going on a field trip to the Hopewell Community Center so the kids can swim and play water games like Marco Polo.”

Recreation & Parks Director Aaron Reidmiller said, "Hopewell Recreation & Parks is a proud supporter of the Hopewell Police Department and their summer camp program. Recreation & Parks is honored to play a small role in the implementation of the program to provide an additional camp for our kids during the summer. We enjoy a strong relationship with all of our public safety agencies who assist the department with events and programs throughout the year."

First-time camp coordinator Richardson shared, “We’re trying to create a positive image…starting with the children. Hopefully, the camp will produce a lasting bond with us as they grow up in the community.

“In today’s society, it’s important to encourage children to make up their own minds. Positive interactions with police officers at summer camp, encourages children to form their own opinions about law enforcement,” added Richardson.

Kristi K. Higgins can be reached at or 804-722-5162.