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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

OPP Officers pack groceries to raise funds for Cop Camp


by Sylene Argent

Local OPP officers spent the better part of the day at the Zehrs grocery store locations in St. Clair Beach and Kingsville last Thursday, offering to pack groceries for patrons in exchange for a donation to support the 26th Annual Essex County OPP Cop Camp.

Typically, OPP Cop Camp is a five-day overnight stay for around 80 youths, who were specially selected by their teachers to attend. These students are graduates of the Values, Influences, and Peers (VIP) program that is offered to local grade six classes.

This year, however, the camp will be a day camp spanning over three-days, as local organizers try to get back into the swing of hosting the activities, after a two-year hiatus following the COVID pandemic.

This year’s Cop Camp will still invite around 80 youths from locally policed OPP communities, and it will allow these future leaders to learn about police services, engage with local police on a positive level, and work on team-building and leadership skills.

It is hoped this year‘s Cop Camp, to take place in August, will still offer time out on the water fishing and an array of other fun activities that the youth will enjoy.

Constable Jackie Winand-Bacon has been involved with Cop Camp since its inception. She said the camp always provides for a fun time. Over the years, she has heard many success stories from former youth participants, some of whom were so influenced by the experience, they decided to become police officers.

Cop Camp, she added, is just one of the ways local police try to build positive relationships with the community.

“We are excited to be back supporting the kids,” she said.

The donations collected during Thursday’s grocery packing fundraiser, will help support bringing these youths to the camp for free.

The fundraiser was hosted through Copps for Charity. Those who made a donation last Thursday were entered into a draw for a chance to win a gift basket.

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