Lexington County deputy leads kids’ ‘Summer Adventure Squad’
“Those are life lessons. We go on the river canoeing and kayaking, we’ve got to respect the water. So they’re life lessons, it’s things that they’re going to carry, it’s memories that they’re going to have the rest of their life,” Burns said. “To me, that’s the most important. If I can be a part of that, that’s what I’m headed to do.”
Photo: Campers wade in the water at Saluda Shoals Park as they look for fish during the outdoors and wildlife session of the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department’s summer youth program known as Summer Adventure Squad. (Contributed)
Last year, Burns helped create the Summer Adventure Squad, a biweekly camp for children at Saluda Shoals Park.
Summer Adventure Squad participant Rikki Thomas said not only does she get to spend time with Burns, her former school resource officer, she also gets to make friends.
“Most kids in the neighborhood, we get to spend time together, because most of the times, we don’t,” Thomas said. “Most kids are in different grades and we don’t go to the same things.”
Each week features a healthy cooking lesson from the American Culinary Federation’s Midlands chapter before going into a themed segment. Charlie Young and other chefs volunteer with a goal of instilling good eating habits at a young age.
“All of the chefs that came and taught here today took time off of their jobs, their work just to come and do this,” Chef Charlie Young said. “It’s a desire to reach out to the community and promote healthy eating.”
Burns said the camp has grown thanks to the generosity of many including the Riverland Hills Baptist Church Youth Group and the Saluda Shoals Foundation, which has already secured grants for summer 2018.
“Next year’s going to be bigger or better, I don’t know which, if not both,” Burns said.
The children might grow older and their schools might change, but their adventures won’t stop.