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The annual event, staged by the Chehalem Park and Recreation District in conjunction with the police department, draws youngsters to the armory complex

GRAPHIC PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - Kids practice their driving skills during Safety Town, held last week at the Chehalem Armory Center in Newberg.

Whether they were wearing helmets and cruising along on bikes, petting dogs or seeing the inside of a police car, a weeklong camp in Newberg provided kids with an opportunity to learn about safety last week.

The Chehalem Park and Recreation District's annual "Safety Town" camp invited kids age 5 to 6 to learn those important safety tips in a fun setting. Located at the Chehalem Armory Center, Safety Town is a collaborative effort between CPRD and the Newberg-Dundee Police Department.

Jennie Delp, a CPRD employee, is the camp's director and said she looks forward to Safety Town every year.

"It's a week of safety-themed fun," she said. "We have the police come, we learn how to use 9-1-1, meet animals we don't know, cross the street safely and other essentials for kids. We do a lot of fun stuff to make the learning fun and it's basically my favorite week of the year."GRAPHIC PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - Officer Ken Howell of the Newberg-Dundee Police Department shows kids the interworkings of a police cruiser during Safety Town last week at the Chehalem Armory Center.

This year's camp was a bit different than ones in years past. While it remained a five-day camp chock full of activities for kids, it only had one session – in the morning – as opposed to morning and afternoon sessions. This was, Delp said, because parents and kids weren't really interested in the afternoon sessions on hotter days and the new schedule makes it easier on volunteers as well.

Kids were required to bring their bicycle helmets on the first day for plenty of lessons in bike safety, while the other days included school bus rides and meeting puppies, among other activities. All the kids really needed was sunscreen, a snack and a positive attitude, Delp said.

NDPD officers were in attendance throughout with their police cars, speaking to kids about how to prepare for danger as well as the safest ways to approach various situations. They made it fun as well with the opportunity for many of the kids to sit in the police cruisers.

Having NDPD as a partner for this event is a big help, Delp said, and she is glad that young kids in the community can connect with the police officers that serve them, along with the park and recreation district in the city they call home.

"We do a lot of the organizing, but it's really a collaboration between us and the police department," Delp said. "I've been involved with it for nine years and seen it change quite a bit, but it's always one of the most fun times of the year."

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