Bay County Wilderness Camp Rehabilitates Kids

By: Dana Arquilla
By: Dana Arquilla

The 40 strangers are all completely different, but they're attending the Bay County Sheriff Wilderness Program for one common reason.

Lucas Farnam, a Wilderness camper, said, "I got into a little trouble with a couple buddies, things got out of hand and we started fighting and they said this would be a good experience for me, and today's my fist day, and it's actually fun!"

This camp is designed to rehabilitate at-risk kids ranging from 11 to 17 years old. Some are court ordered to be here, while others come voluntarily. Sheriffs deputies say it's a positive interaction on both ends.

Jason Johnson, Bay County Sheriff's Deputy, said, "Sometimes they view us as the enemy, and we want to change that observation. We interact with the kids real well and they have a lot of fun. They’re swimming right now; we do sports, team building exercises, they have an obstacle course and a challenger course and they all work together as a team, and by the end these 40 strangers come together as one big family."

Many kids already see the benefits.

Jesse Klunk, a Wilderness camper, said, "Just the experience, being with all these people who may be going through certain things like me, get some influences and mature from it."

Jamuti Harvis, a Wilderness camper, said, "Really you don't know nobody here, unless you’re family, and so everybody is willing to help you learn."

These boys will stay here in the wild until noon on Saturday, when they may be a little less wild themselves. It is too late to join this year's Wilderness Camp, but you can register for next year's at the Bay County Sheriff's Office when applications go out around March.


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