Changing lives, one week at a time, Aug. 4, 2013

Published 6:06 pm Saturday, August 3, 2013

Yesterday marked the end of camp for some Beaufort County children. It was a new experience for all of them — sleepover camp, bonding with other kids they may have never gotten a chance to know. That the ethnic make-up of this camp was diverse was a point of pride — black, white, Latino, Middle Eastern, male, female — and their activities during the week were just as diverse: visiting a Coast Guard Station, playing on the Pamlico River, flying a jet simulator, working out with Navy Seals.

This was the first ever Police Activities League camp, and according to PAL President Al Powell, it was a resounding success.

As camp ended and parents came to pick up their children, parents were surprised by what they were hearing, Powell said.

“I want to be in the Coast Guard when I grow up!”

“I want to be a helicopter pilot when I grow up!”

And the list of statements parents never thought they’d hear their children make went on.

All it took was one week of camp — one week where opportunities to experience the new and different tapped into the desire to learn and have a goal for the future. One week of hands-on care provided by role models in law enforcement, armed forces, educators and volunteers.

Whether the one child grows up to become a Coast Guard officer or the other grows up to become a helicopter pilot is immaterial. What’s important is that those children had a glimpse of the possibilities out there.

Thanks to PAL, 25 lives were changed this week. More support for that organization means positive change in our children’s lives, one week at a time.