RESPECTING  OTHER PEOPLE ENCOURAGING SELF-ESTEEM

The Northern Berkshire Youth R.O.P.E.S. Summer Program provides a free week long summer camp, once in July and once in August, for more than 200 children in Northern Berkshire County. This program is staffed by police officers, firefighters, EMTs and teachers from participating cities and towns; Adams, Clarksburg, Cheshire, North Adams, Florida and Williamstown.

The DARE Summer Program began in North Adams in 1996 at the Historic Valley Campground at Windsor Lake. Originally there were four camps in Berkshire County, including Pittsfield, Central Berkshire, Southern Berkshire and Northern Berkshire. Police Officers from all the participating communities would work at each camp in the county. When the North Adams officers including, then Sergeant Dave Sacco and Officer's Fran Maruco and Bill Baker saw what the other camps had at their facilities, the three officers had an idea. They decided to build a low ropes course at Windsor Lake. Through their ingenuity and donations from the community, the first year began. with a Low Ropes challenge course. It was built by the facilitators of the program. 

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 We now have low and high ropes elements, the games and demonstrations were reduced. With the new high ropes elements we saw kids Fly for the first time on the 250 foot Zip-Line. We saw them overcome their fear and take that Leap of Faith from 35 feet up. We also saw a rise in the number of Mentors that year. Mentors are students who could return to the camp and were given increased responsibility. These numbers of Mentors grew and grew each year. The elimination of the state grants did not deter anyone; it seemed to make everyone work harder. Commissioner Morocco worked magic as he secured federal and state grants aimed at juveniles, through prevention of crime and truancy.

Since our first camp and up to today our camp is all about having fun. Although the campers might not know it, they are learning life lessons with each activity they encounter. 

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