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West Fargo D.A.R.E. Camp reinforces message

In the midst of a very busy summer is a fun event called D.A.R.E. Camp. Every August, the West Fargo Police Department hosts a week-long camp filled with exciting activities and valuable lessons that builds on the lessons and skills the students learned while taking the D.A.R.E. program during 5th grade in school.

Lessons include topics on prescription drug abuse, bullying, Internet safety, various drugs, alcohol and tobacco. The D.A.R.E. program focuses not only on the facts about these issues, but also decision-making and practicing skills on how to avoid and refuse offers, with a variety of speakers from the West Fargo Police Department and other local organizations.

One of the highlights of the camp throughout the week is the assortment of physical activities to participate in, including soccer, volleyball, broomball, and kickball. The kids enjoy field trips to a bowling alley and other attractions.

The West Fargo Park District has been a generous supporter of the D.A.R.E. Camp since it began in 1997. The Park District donates the Veterans Memorial Arena and the Veterans Memorial Pool facilities during the week. Other local businesses have given money or resources to make this event possible, including: Culligan Water, Old Dutch, Happy Joe's, McDonalds, Subway, Taco John's, Sandy's Donuts, Fargo-Moorhead Safe Kids, and Fargo/Cass Public Health.

D.A.R.E. Officer Eric Wiinanen leads the camp with the help of three to four other West Fargo police officers. The camp is limited to the first 40 students and there is no cost to attend. To sign up for the D.A.R.E. camp, parents register their child through West Fargo Parks and Recreation.