ATHENS, Ala. - Kids in Limestone County are spending time at a different kind of summer camp this year learning more about the people that protect and serve their communities.
Authorities say it is the third year they have held the Limestone County Sheriff's Office Youth Mentor Camp.
Campers can explore a bulletproof vehicle, see K-9 demonstrations, and check out a camera that detects body heat. Deputies crafted them a hands-on experience.
"We try to take them and force them into situations where they have to depend on each other," said Deputy Stephen Young with the Limestone County Sheriff's Office.
Campers even have to learn each other's strengths to solve a mock crime scene.
"It starts out with games, activities, basic fun stuff. today is kind of the hard-core teamwork day so we bring in a lot of other agencies," stated Young.
Campers also got to see the Jaws of Life tool used to pull apart cars to rescue people trapped inside.
"It's all in fun, pretty lighthearted and we have some easy-going stuff but there are lessons that are built into it," said Young.
Each year's campers are recommended by school resource officers and other people in the community to get to know the deputies behind the badge.
"We may be in their school, we may be in their house, we may be in their neighborhood, and they only see one side of law enforcement. It's important they see the humanity of law enforcement," explained Young.
The Sheriff's Office hosts two separate weeks of the free camp each one for a different age group. The campers also get to tour the jail, courthouse, and other county facilities. Each year, deputies encourage school resource officers and counselors to recommend students with socialization or teamwork challenges, to help them improve those skills.