York City School Police need public's help to fund S.A.F.E. Camp
York City School Police are here to serve, their chief said — and nearly everyone from the 12-officer force will literally be serving folks at a fundraiser next week.
Officers will act as guest waiters from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 20, at the Rockfish Public House, 110 N. George St., according to York City School Police Chief Mike Muldrow.
The money they collect in tips will go toward funding S.A.F.E. Camp, which is the department's three-week summer day camp for York City kids. This year it runs from July 9 to 27.
In its second year, the free camp is far more than simply a way for kids to pass time during hot summer days, Muldrow said, adding that "S.A.F.E." stands for safety, accountability, fitness and etiquette.
He said he and the officers who run the camp work hard to make sure everything the kids do is designed to make them better people, often through "demanding, character-driven, cadet-style drills and challenges, similar to what you would get at a police academy or fire academy."
There's daily, rigorous exercise, he said — everything from pushups to yoga to boxing to swimming.
There's also a community-service component to the camp, the chief said; last year's campers raised money for charity, cleaned up city neighborhoods, helped the elderly and painted over graffiti.
New experiences: The camp also strives to expose students to experiences some kids have never had before.
Last year, campers went hiking, rock-climbing and swimming at Kilgore Falls in Jarrettsville, Maryland. They also visited Towson University and an area military base, and they hung out at the beach at Sandy Point State Park in Maryland, Muldrow said.
This year, the chief said he hopes to focus on the arts and, if enough money can be raised, take campers to New York City to see a Broadway show.
The camp is run on a shoestring budget — and entirely from donations. Children attend for free, and the school district doesn't provide taxpayer funding, he said.
Character- and team-building exercises are designed to be fun, too, such as car-pushing races.
"It's not a traditional camp," Muldrow said. "We only have four rules: No cussing, no fighting, no getting smart and you must participate. All the kids can recite the rules."
The camp requires that all its kids try their best.
"We push them hard so they can push themselves," the chief said.
Close bonds: Last year's campers created a close bond with each other, and it didn't end when camp did, according to Muldrow.
"We went Christmas caroling over the holidays," he said, to Bell Socialization, Rest Haven York, the Crispus Attucks Early Learning Center and Central Market.
"That's our little wolf pack," Muldrow said with pride.
The camp is for York City students between the ages of 8 and 12, but students who are 13 and 14 years old can be youth counselors.
Youth counselors get to experience everything the younger campers do, but there's a higher level of expectation from them, specifically that they work with and support the younger kids, according to Muldrow.
This year, students will get to go camping overnight in conjunction with the York YMCA, the chief said.
Last year, S.A.F.E. Camp had 50 campers, and Muldrow said he's hoping to increase that number to 75. They're getting close to capacity this year, he said, but are still taking applications.
How to apply: Prospective campers are screened before they are accepted, and parents and guardians are consulted as well, "because of how hard we push the kids," the chief said.
During the fundraiser on June 20 at Rockfish Public House, York City School Officer Britney Brooks, whose stage name is Scarlet Rose, will sing for tips.
"It's important for the community to see officers being more than just a badge," Muldrow said, adding he tries to hire officers who not only are qualified but who have special skills or quirks they can share with students.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.
Editor's note: This story has been changed to correct the day of the week for the fundraiser.