Foot­ball camp con­nects po­lice to kids

The Avenue News - - FRONT PAGE - BY BILL GATES bgates@ches­pub.com

Fol­low­ing in the suc­cess of their pop­u­lar base­ball camp, which has been held in Dundalk for the past three sum­mers, the Bal­ti­more County Po­lice De­part­ment de­buted a sum­mer foot­ball camp last week at Dundalk High School.

The camp was or­ga­nized by Spike McEl­fish, a North Point precinct of­fi­cer who also over­sees the base­ball camp. McEl­fish is the head base­ball coach at East­ern Tech and was also on the Mav­er­ick foot­ball coach­ing staff.

Like the base­ball camp, the foot­ball camp fo­cused on help­ing at-risk and un­der­priv­i­leged chil­dren (while open to ev­ery­one) of ages 8-14 and was free of charge.

Dur­ing the camp, the first part of each day fo­cused on skills and drills prac­tice, then the campers would break up into sep­a­rate teams and play a scrim­mage game of flag foot­ball.

The two camps are part of the De­part­ment’s Op­er­a­tion Con­nect, which seeks to en­gage the com­mu­nity through ac­tiv­i­ties run by po­lice of­fi­cers.

Other ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude the “Bike with a Cop” pro­gram, com­mu­nity cleanups and com­mu­nity bar­be­cues.

County Ex­ec­u­tive Don Mohler par­tic­i­pated in the cap on Friday, show­ing off his pass­ing touch as he threw passes to the campers dur­ing a re­ceiv­ing drill.

“We al­ways look for ways to see what we can do to fo­cus on pub­lic safety in a pos­i­tive way,” Mohler said. “It’s an ef­fort to get the po­lice de­part­ment more in­volved with youth pro­grams. It re­ally lets the young peo­ple see a dif­fer­ent side of a po­lice of­fi­cer.

“This gets kids to see po­lice of­fi­cers in a pos­i­tive light, and can be a real sig­nif­i­cant game-changer in the com­mu­nity. See­ing the looks on the kid’s faces is re­ally grat­i­fy­ing.”

PHOTO BY BILL GATES

With­out much of a pass rush, the in­struc­tor play­ing quar­ter­back had plenty of time to scan the field for an open re­ceiver.

PHOTO BY BILL GATES

A cam­per cuts in­side the de­fender to catch a pass from county ex­ec­u­tive Don Mohler dur­ing the foot­ball camp at Dundalk High.

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