SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A local camp is creating relationships between children with disabilities and law enforcement. It aims to show children who might encounter officers in emergency situations that officers are there to help them.
Kids took advantage of the sunny day on Saturday at Sunny Day Camp. The camp is a one-day event that is dedicated to building a bond between law enforcement and children with disabilities. Trooper Deanna Piekanski, a community service officer, says that the camp is a version of Camp Cadet.
“It’s important because a lot of them, you know, they have some disabilities. Some of them are in wheelchairs. They can’t come to our regular day camp we have. We have Camp Cadet. They can come out here and meet the troopers and other agencies and see that they can talk to them and have fun. They can participate as well,” Piekanski said.
Roseann Polishin’s son is on the autism spectrum and is also diagnosed with epilepsy. She says Sunny Day Camp is important because it also teaches children with disabilities not to be afraid of law enforcement.
“He’s had some seizures where it required police and 911 and EMTs to arrive on the scene and you never know what might happen so if you can build these relationships before an emergency situation, it can definitely help,” Polishin said.
“This is a great opportunity for us to come out here today to show you that we are approachable. We love it when you come up and talk to us. We love it when you pick our brains with questions. It’s just our way of giving back and helping out the community,” Trooper Bob Urban said.
The kids got to spend time with the Mounted, K-9 and Dive team and check out a Pennsylvania state helicopter. They learned how each team helps protect the communities around them. The camp was started by Pennsylvania State Trooper Samantha Minucci in 2016.
“Her brother has special needs and she said he would always want to go to Camp Cadet with her and she couldn’t take him so she came up with the idea of Sunny Day Camp,” Piekanski said.
“Disabilities, that doesn’t make them different than anyone else. That’s why we want to have this camp to show them that they can do things that normal kids do,” Urban said.
Sunny Day Camp is held every year at various locations in Pennsylvania.