Kids learn new hobbies that steer them clear of drugs through DARE program

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HARRISONVILLE, Mo. — Law enforcement officers are teaching kids in Cass County, Mo., about fishing, archery and other shooting sports at a special camp this week. At the Harrisonville city park the sessions are helping keep kids on the right path in their lives.

It’s part of a Drug Abuse Resistance Education program in Cass County — also known as DARE. The activities introduce 5th and 6th graders to different ways to have fun in the summer without turning to drugs.

About 60 DARE graduates are selected for the camp, which is free thanks to donations from the Elks Lodge and other Cass County businesses. Law enforcement officers work with the kids out of uniform to help build trust. And after a week of fishing, bows and arrows and pellet guns, it’s hoped that the campers will see officers as real people with families, just like them. The event helps break down any intimidation or fear kids may have about approaching an officer.

“This gives them something, kind of a place to escape, be themselves, and show those good positive morals and good positive things that we want them to have throughout their lives,” said Deputy Christine Eddleman a Cass County DARE officer.

High school students who have been through the camp in previous years serve as role models for the group. Some of the kids have never fished before or shot a bow and arrow. They discover new hobbies that can become life-long loves. And others tell FOX 4 News they also meet new friends that share similar values and can help them stand up to peer pressure.

“I just remember having fun and meeting new people that went through the same DARE education that I did,” said Kaylee Tieman, who will be a Harrisonville High School freshman in the fall. “So we all knew about drugs and how not to use them. Then we just learned how we can have fun without drugs and how it can be a good thing to keep out of your life.”

Officers encourage kids to “Be A Champion” at this camp. That means developing leadership skills that help them stand up for what they know to be right in their lives.

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