Junior Deputy Academy Registration Now Open

 One of the area’s most popular summer camps is now accepting applications. And the best part about the Comal County Sheriff’s Office Junior Deputy Academies? They’re free.

The Academies are open to all boys and girls, ages 9-11, in Comal County. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis, but first-time applicants will receive priority in an effort to give more students an opportunity to attend a camp. Maximum class size is 100 children per camp, and most camps fill up to capacity very quickly.

Visit www.mycomalcounty.com for a link on how to apply for the 2017 Junior Deputy Academies.

Once again this summer, three Junior Deputy Academies will take place.

Canyon Middle School will host the first camp from June 12-16, followed by Mountain Valley Middle School from July 10-14 and then Smithson Valley Middle School from July 31-August 4. Each camp runs from, 8 a.m.-noon daily.

“The first academy was in 2009 and it’s grown from there,” said Sgt. Rick Cardenas. “We heard from the community and they wanted us to expand it, so now it’s in three different geographic areas. The school district has been gracious to partner with us each year.”

The goal of each weeklong academy is to reach children at a critical age before they embark on adolescence.

“It’s a proactive approach to promote leadership and teambuilding,” Cardenas said. “We also show the consequences of actions.”

The academy serves as a showcase, with Comal County Sheriff’s Office personnel visiting with other local agencies, including the Fire Department and EMS, Air Life, and CASA. Within the Sheriff’s Office, children get to learn about the K-9 Unit, Crisis Negotiations, Canine Classmates, Crime Prevention, Narcotics Drug Awareness, and even the SWAT team. The week also includes a tour of the Sheriff’s Office facilities.

“It definitely interests children in future career opportunities,” Cardenas said.

“The kids keeping coming back. They love it,” said Herman Medina, Crime Prevention/Community Resource Team officer. “ We also have volunteers that keep coming back year after year, many of which were camp members themselves a few years ago.”

Medina said the relationships the officers are able to build with students are paramount.

“We get to know the kids and they definitely don’t forget us,” he said. “The fact at such an early age students view officers as people they can trust, or come and talk to if they ever see something they feel isn’t right, is a huge step in the right direction.”