PENN YAN, N.Y. (WETM) – Cherished memories continue as sheriffs across New York State host the annual Sheriffs’ Summer Camp at Keuka Lake in Yates County.

The camp is an opportunity for boys and girls from different counties between the ages of nine and 12 to attend camp free of cost. They participate in multiple outdoor activities with local deputy sheriffs from around the state. The activities geared to build campers’ confidence also help them become more aware of their natural and social environment. Campers are encouraged to try new adventures, such as fishing, sailing, kayaking, and additional ground activities with groups.

“So many of the kids have never been on a lake before, never been able to canoe or kayak, have the opportunity to sail,” said Jefferson County Sargent Casey Larkins. “Lots of them love the swim section. They get to go in with buddies. It’s a great experience for them and there’s a ton of smiles.”

Campers who would not have a chance to attend a summer camp are chosen through a variety of methods.

“We have almost 20 resource officers in Steuben County now. They nominate children that they think would most benefit from this camp experience,” said Steuben County Sheriff James Allard.

The camp, a former YMCA Camp, is owned by the New York State Sheriffs’ Institute. Between four to six deputy sheriffs are in residence during each of the six one-week sessions. They work themselves into the camp’s daily curriculum by serving as mentors.

“I see the kids come in before they leave, and you can just see the nervousness and apprehension. Then you hear the stories, and they don’t want to come home,” said Chemung County Sheriff Bill Schrom.

The Camp Director is Tim Doughty, who worked under recently retired Camp Director and Elmira Native, Dave Sherman. Doughty shared with 18 News more than 200 people between counselors, sheriffs, and children were present this week.

Sheriffs look forward to expanding the camp as a wellness resource for Deputy Sheriff’s.

“We often see deputies and corrections officers that go through traumatic situations, and there’s really no unified place for them to turn,” Sheriff James Allard continues.

To learn more about the Sheriff’s Summer Camp, visit this website.