Beginning Sunday, June 12th, youth from all over Wyoming between the ages of eleven and thirteen will converge on Casper Mountain for the 8th Annual Camp P.O.S.T.C.A.R.D.
The acronym stands for Peace Officers Striving to Create and Reinforce Dreams. Heath Steele with Volunteers of America Northern Rockies saw a similar camp in the state of Maine several years ago, and was so impressed he worked to implement a program in Wyoming. In that time, he tells us, they've fine-tuned it.
Funding also comes from the Daniels Fund, First Interstate Bank and local foundations. And another key partner during the camp week is the Wyoming National Guard, who come to spend a day with the campers.
Officer John King with the Sheridan Police Department has been a mentor at the camp since its inception. He explains why they focus the camp toward 6th - 8th graders
Steele says they work with school teachers, community members and others to determine what youth are good candidates for this program, which at its heart is all about building future leaders, particularly from those who might not stand out as an obvious leader.
Along with Officer King, Sheridan County Sheriff Deputy Mandy Madry will serve as a mentor as well -- this will be her fifth year at the camp.
King says they often have an opportunity to hear from past campers to learn how they're doing and contributing to their community.
Steele says that an example is that a camper they had the first year, for whom administrators held out "cautiously optimistic" hopes for his future success, grew up to become a detention officer in Wyoming, coming back to P.O.S.T.C.A.R.D. as an adult mentor.
Counties represented include Sheridan, Johnson, Campbell, Natrona, Uinta, Lincoln, Crook and Weston, just to name a few. Since the camp was started, approximately 780 kids have been served.
Steele is proud to add that the first-ever Camp P.O.S.T.C.A.R.D. will be held in Montana, near Columbus, starting the week of June 25th.