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Safety Camp thrills Cottage Grove kids

Blitz, the Cottage Grove Police Department's working canine, made an appearance at safety camp. Campers, such as Brianna Herme (foreground) and Gretchen Stoskopf were allowed to gently pet Blitz after the demonstration. Bulletin photo by Judy Spooner

As the three-day annual safety camp entered its 18th year, there was a twist on one of the traditions.

Every year, Cottage Grove firefighters bring a car ready to be junked to Hamlet Park where the three-day camp is held. The car is set on fire and firefighters demonstrate how the fire is extinguished.

At last week's annual camp, however, firefighters added something new by showing kids what can happen if drivers are distracted by texting or talking on cellphones.

Three counselors were selected to be in the car as firefighters responded as if there had been an accident with three people trapped inside. With an ambulance and backboard ready, they peeled back the windshield and took the top off the car to rescue the counselors who were covered with a sheet to keep them safe from broken glass.

During the camp, about 90 campers were divided into four teams. Teams picked their names and composed their own camp songs about staying safe.

Another new feature of the camp was "crime scene" with Cottage Grove detectives demonstrating how fingerprints are lifted and shoe prints identified in a mythical case to determine who stole cookies and left an empty jar.

Other presentations included water safety, kitchen and electrical safety and what to do if severe weather comes to the area. Campers also learned the basics of administering CPR.

Lunches were provided by Bonngard's, Presbyterian Homes and River Oaks Golf Course and catering. Each camper got a hat, T-shirt, snacks, water bottle and all-sport helmet.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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