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Safety camp to the rescue

All parents want their children to be safe, but they can't always cover every bit of information kids need to know in an increasingly complicated world. Safety Camp comes to the rescue.

Area youngsters, fourth- through sixth-grade, attended a three-day camp hosted by the Cottage Grove Parks and Recreation Department, last week at Hamlet Park.

To provide an atmosphere where children can learn about safety and have fun at the same time, the 100 youngsters were divided into four teams supervised by neighborhood park leaders and volunteers.

Each team was assigned a color and kids came up with team names including Blue Cyclones, Green Grizzlies, Purple Penguins and Red Cobras. Counselors wrote the kids' names on baseball caps with the team color. In addition, each team had a flag and a team song that was sung when going from one presentation to another.

Kids were also supplied with Safety Camp T-shirts and plenty of water in bottles with carriers worn over the shoulder, to insure the youngsters stayed hydrated in hot weather.

There was a demonstration of bike safety, sponsored by Liberty Mutual Insurance. Children rode through a maze that showed them when to stop and walk their bikes and how to go slow around schools. Each child received a free all-sport helmet from Liberty Mutual.

"We wanted to zero in on personal safety this year so we added kitchen safety," said Molly Pietruszewski, parks and recreation director.

There was also a presentation on mall safety by representatives from the Mall of America. They told kids what to do if they became separated from their parents.

Internet safety was discussed to help kids learn safe habits when they are on-line.

"We were down in attendance this year," Pietruszewski said. "But more than half of the kids are new to Safety Camp. More kids will be participating in park programs and all of them are looking forward to Ådventure Camp next month."

Safety Camp presentations included a smoking house to show youngsters how they should exit a burning home, how to prevent sport's injuries, what happens when an ambulance is needed and how to use emergency telephone numbers.

There were also demonstrations by Xcel Energy, the Washington County Sheriff's Mounted Patrol and city departments.

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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