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Challenge, Overcome, Persevere, Succeed

COPS Camp teens work together to complete team building challenges.

Article and photo by Catalin Varela

Leadership and teamwork are the most important qualities to foster in the teens who are pioneering the future. This is what Commander Sam Varela of the Castle Rock Police Department thought when he started COPS Camp almost nine years ago. In fact, the catalyst for the camp was when a group of sworn officers realized that some of their various skills would not only be very useful, but also really fun for young adults to learn. As Varela put it, “The value of the program is getting young adults outside their comfort zone. Current American culture is such that many of us can be raised in an environment that doesn’t create challenge.”

Camp goers spend the week working with their peers in team building exercises, learning basic climbing knots, rappelling techniques, land navigation, and many more skills. One 80108 teen who is actively involved in the camp said “It is a great experience for kids who want a little bit of adventure and are looking for something different to do over the summer.”
She was also quick to mention “I had a blast my first time and that is why I have continued to do it for the past three years and had the honor of being an assistant instructor last summer. I always look forward to it; it is the highlight of my summer!”

This annual camp will take place on July 30 through August 2. Led by Castle Rock Police Department officers, teens ages 13 to 17 not only learn the priceless skills of leadership and teamwork, but spend a week developing close relationships with the officers. Overall, it is a rewarding experience for both the teens and officers alike.

To secure a spot in COPS Camp, visit their website at



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