TPR Lloyd Cochran
Public Affairs Officer
Kentucky State Police
Post 11, London
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Trooper Island Anniversary Stirs Memories
Eastern Kentucky Trooper Remembers Camp Experience
Date of News Release: 08/04/2005
FRANKFORT, KY (Aug. 4, 2005) - Joel Woods recalled the first time he traveled any marked distance from his Bell County childhood home. "It was 1983...and Trooper Island was my first camp experience and my first time away from home, really," said Woods. "I knew that's what I wanted to be a part of...the Kentucky State Police (KSP). I enjoyed the fishing, looking at the troopers' cars, how they did fingerprints - I was in the 'loop.' It was a good time, a very positive influence."
Woods, now a KSP sergeant who trains cadets at the state police academy in Frankfort, is one an estimated 20,000 who've attended Trooper Island Camp, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Though the camp's record-keeping was spotty in the early years, Woods also is among approximately one hundred-plus campers or counselors who went on to become troopers, often due in whole or in part to their Trooper Island experiences.
In 1965, the Kentucky State Police purchased a 34-acre island in Dale Hollow Lake in Clinton County, appropriately named it Trooper Island and had it declared a charitable, non-profit organization. Troopers cleared much of the land by hand and served at first as the camp's sole counselors. In Trooper Island's earliest years, there were only two one-week camps, children slept in Army tents and activities were built upon year by year.
Today, troopers and college-age counselors work 12 camps during the 10-week season packed with activities. At season's end, 700 children have played tag football, learned about fingerprinting and other law enforcement duties, canoed and fished the lake and learned the finer points of leadership and citizenship. During all activities, Trooper Island staff reinforces fair play, teamwork and solid self-esteem.
The goals and overarching theme have remained the same through the years, says KSP Commissioner Mark L. Miller. "The troopers lend their time to the camp to foster leadership, teamwork and citizenship. They show them that police officers can be friends and mentors," said Miller. "It's a unique, enduring program that we continue to build on so children can get the most out of their experiences there."
Sgt. Woods can attest to that. "I've been there as a camper...and now I've accompanied cadets to see the camp," noted Woods. "With age, I've learned that Trooper Island is a real asset to Kentucky. You could never scratch the surface of all the good things the camp has done for kids."
The free camp is for girls and boys 10-12 years of age whose families may be unable to afford camp. Children can be recommended by contacting a state police post. In addition to regular camps, three special camps include one for Hispanic children to help bridge the cultural gap, one for children awaiting heart transplants and one for children with phenylketonuria (PKU), a genetic condition that can cause mental retardation when not detected and treated early in infancy.
Fundraiser for Trooper Island
The Kentucky State Police (KSP) is holding its biggest single fundraising event for the camp, the raffling of a Harley-Davidson® motorcycle to benefit Trooper Island Inc. Each $10 ticket earns the buyer a chance to win a 2005 Harley-Davidson® FLSTF/FLSTFI Fat Boy® motorcycle. This fundraiser and other donations help the camp continue to host free summer camps.
To obtain raffle tickets, contact any Kentucky State Police post or call the KSP Public Affairs Branch in Frankfort at (502) 782-1780. A maximum of 15,000 tickets will be sold. The drawing will be held during the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville at 4 p.m. EST, on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2005, at the KSP exhibit in the South Wing of the Kentucky State Fair and Exposition Center. Tickets may be purchased at the state fair. The winning ticket holder does not need to be present to win.
This raffle is being conducted via Charitable Gaming License #0000633.
Tax-deductible donations may be made to: Trooper Island Camp, P. O. Box 473, Albany, KY 42602
Southeastern Kentucky KSP posts to contact for Trooper Island motorcycle raffle tickets:
Harlan Post: 606-573-3131
London Post: 606-878-6622
Hazard Post: 606-435-6069