Wichita campers receive special surprise from first responders

Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 4:34 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Boy Scouts Awareness camp wrapped up Wednesday at O.J. Watson Park in South Wichita. Roughly a hundred kids got a special surprise from their camp counselors before going home for the day.

The counselors helped with activities like kayaking and archery but said forming bonds with the kids is the most rewarding part. Plus, it helped for the element of surprise when the campers learned their counselors are law enforcement officers, paramedics, firefighters and service members.

Nicole Beliles is a Wichita Police Officer and has been working with the camp for years. She said seeing her campers’ reactions is something she will never get tired of.

“Once we’re in uniform, we’re different. What I look like now is not what I look like in blue, in body armor, with a badge,” said Beliles.

Campers got to see the inside patrol cars, ambulances, and fire trucks. Some even honked the horn and tried out the fire hose.

The message behind the surprise - first responders are human too.

“We’re just trying to show them that we’re human just like they are, and they can trust us,” said Eastborough Police Chief James Welch.

It was a message that couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Very honored for the opportunity to play a role in the conversations that are happening in our nation in our community right now involving law enforcement,” said Boy Scouts District Executive Michael Redondo.

Beliles and Chief Welch both said getting to form personal connections with the campers is a rewarding experience and they look forward to helping out next year.

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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