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Kentucky State Police announce cancellation of 2020 Trooper Island camp due to coronavirus pandemic

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

There’s been another casualty due to the coronavirus pandemic as the Kentucky State Police announced Monday that the Trooper Island Kid’s camp this summer has been cancelled.

It was supposed to be a celebration as state police planned to host the fifty-fifth year of the camp, but out of concern for safety, KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer made the tough decision to cancel camp, but with a twist. He challenged his Trooper Island Camp Staff to develop a free virtual camp that kids can attend by watching online via an electronic device or television.

The Trooper Island Camp, located on an island at Dale Hollow Lake in Clinton County, serves 700-800 underprivileged children each year, Brewer stated. “I couldn’t fathom not sharing this experience with Kentucky children and ending 55 years of tradition by not hosting it.”

Trooper Island camp for kids was cancelled Monday by the Kentucky State Police. (KSP photo)

Brewer decided that if the kids couldn’t come to camp, he would bring camp to them.

“We have the technology and resources to bring a piece of the island to the kids, even if it is virtually,” he said. “While we may not be able to interact in person, we can still connect with these young people and teach them skills they can utilize at home or when camp is back in session.”

The first episode airs on the KSP YouTube channel and the Trooper Island Facebook page on June 30 at 10:00 a.m. After that, there will be two episodes each week during the month of July for children to watch and participate in, featuring an activity that campers would do if they were at the island.

It will also include downloadable activities kids can do at home. Some of the topics include swimming, campfire cooking, archery and the traditional flag-raising ceremony. If a child misses an episode, no problem. The KSP intends to upload every episode after it airs to the KSP Trooper Island Camp website, along with the downloadable activity.

Trooper Island Camp Director Trooper Jonathan Biven said he was excited to accept Brewer’s challenge to develop a virtual camp and hopes children will participate and share their ‘virtual’ experience along the way.

“We have some neat things planned for our virtual campers and one thing we want to do is show their involvement with us at home,” Biven said. “We developed a hashtag and a method for parents to share photos of their children learning the activities, doing the activities or just watching along with us.”

Using the hashtag #VirtualTrooperIsland, the KSP welcomes parents to share photos or videos of their child during the camp episodes on KSP social media or through the agency website. Biven says he plans to share some of those and use them for a special graduation ceremony in August.

“The neatest thing for me is that we are going to host a ‘live’ graduation on Facebook. During that time, we plan to highlight many of the photos that we receive, announce our camp graduates and have the opportunity to give some prizes away,” says Biven.

Biven says every child that certifies they have watched all the episodes will receive a camp certificate and patch. Although Trooper Island Camp normally serves only those who are 10-12 years old, the virtual camp is open to all ages of children.

Parents can register kids for the virtual camp at www.ksponline.org

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