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A camp on Casper Mountain marks 20 years of helping young people

Camp POSTCARD welcome sign in 2022
Dave M Shumway
Volunteers of America Northern Rockies
A sign welcomes campers to Camp POSTCARD in 2022 on Casper Mountain.

Camp POSTCARD (Peace Officers Striving to Create and Reinforce Dreams) is a Volunteers of America Northern Rockies camp for 5th and 6th grade students. The camp helps the students develop leadership and teamwork skills. It’s held each year at the Allen H. Stewart Lions Camp on Casper Mountain. 2023 marks it 20th anniversary.

“They’re fifth and sixth graders that come in that school resource officers identify from the varying counties that they see potential in, and it may be their first camp, it may be that they need a little boost up in their confidence level and their self-esteem levels,” said Susie Arnold, Vice President of Residential Services for Volunteers of America Northern Rockies.

Twenty-three law enforcement officers from several counties are attending as coaches and mentors to help around 86 campers this year. Several student mentors, who are in their junior or senior year of high school, are also helping out. Law enforcement personnel, junior mentors, and campers are attending from Campbell, Carbon, Fremont, Johnson, Laramie, Natrona, Sheridan, Sweetwater, and Teton counties. Four Volunteers of America staff are also helping with camp management and leadership as well.

“It is a premier leadership camp for Wyoming,” said Cody Myers, school resource officer for Fremont County School District #24 in Shoshoni. “I think when it kind of started out it wasn't clear on the type of kids, but I think, as we look at it, even as adults, we all have things going on in our lives, so there's not any kid from any type of background. We've had kids that have had a really rough time of it, and then we've had kids that come up whose dad’s a principal, mom's a nurse, whatever it is, kids still go through a lot of things.”

Myers said one of the goals of the camp is to use these issues to make campers more resilient and to be able to grow from them. Campers are also encouraged to share their thoughts, feelings, and to learn respect for themselves and others as well as teamwork and self-control. It also aims to build positive relationships between youth and law enforcement and criminal justice professionals in the hope of reducing their risk of committing crimes and using tobacco, alcohol, and drugs.

“It really gives us a time to sit down and just share some things and let these kids know, ‘Hey, you're not alone,'” Myers said. “We all go through these things, but you know, we just keep working, keep getting better and use our failures to make us stronger. You can always look at those things two ways.”

Various activities are planned throughout the week, including self-esteem building exercises in addition to leadership and decision-making skills. Campers also participate in archery, arts and crafts, and riflery. There will be guest speakers and visits from outside law enforcement personnel, including mounted patrols.

This year’s camp events began on June 11 and will continue through June 16.

Hugh Cook is Wyoming Public Radio's Northeast Reporter, based in Gillette. A fourth-generation Northeast Wyoming native, Hugh joined Wyoming Public Media in October 2021 after studying and working abroad and in Washington, D.C. for the late Senator Mike Enzi.
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