Henry County Sheriff's Office Youth Camp started Monday at Memorial Park.
Former Sheriff Harold Griffin started the children's camp with the help of Sgt. Jim Goodwin more than two decades ago. Griffin created the camp so children could see how local law enforcement worked.
After Griffin retired, Goodwin took over the camp completely.
"We thought this camp would be a good way for kids to interact with law enforcement on a positive note because sometimes when they see us, it isn't always so positive," Goodwin said.
The children enrolled in the camp spend several days interacting with different kinds of law enforcement and learning how they go about their jobs.
"I like to think the kids learn something from this week. At the very least, I hope they learn teamwork, discipline and that they ultimately come out as better people," Goodwin said.
The people working at the camp are volunteers as the camp is free to kids ages 10-16. Most of the volunteers still work regular jobs during the week while lending a hand here and there.
"We have anywhere from 20-to-30 people helping out at a time and it is a lot of work. Sheriff [Landon] Dean is still on duty tonight and he's been here helping us out a lot today with the accident," Goodwin said.
Monday, camp kicked off with a mock car accident. Police, firemen and various emergency medical personnel from the city and county participated, as well as the Anderson air medical transport team and the helicopter they use to air lift people to various hospitals.
The "accident" was caused by a drunk driver who hit another car head-on. The drunk driver, who was wearing a seatbelt, appeared fine other than the fact he was inebriated, unlike the passengers of the other car. While stumbling and slurring his words, the drunk driver told police he only had two beers.
There was one boy, who had been ejected from a car, dead on the ground when the police and EMS arrived. Another passenger needed to be air lifted to a level-one trauma center due to a femur break and head injury, so they took her to the ambulance while they waited for the helicopter to arrive.
Once it did, Dean explained to the kids what was being played out in front of them.
"The helicopter is doing what's called a hot load," he said. "This means they don't shut the blades off or the engines off so that they can load the victim up and get them back in the air as quick as possible. Once at the hospital, it becomes a cold load because they turn everything off."
All of the makeup and fake injuries on the actors are created by local pastor and sheriff's chaplain Bill Palmer. Palmer has been helping out at the camp for the last 21 years and said he loves being able to be a part of it all.
"I buy all the make up and supplies with my own money and volunteer as much as I can. It's all for the kids and I love being able to help out," Palmer said.
Some of the injuries and props used to recreate the accident scene were gory, but many campers didn't mind. "This fake stuff doesn't even scare me anymore," said one long-time camper.
Throughout the rest of the week at sheriff's camp, kids will participate in other mock scenarios involving different branches of government, including a trial. The goal by the end of the week is to get the children acquainted with as many members of different agencies as possible. "This camp shows the kids that we're people too," Goodwin said.