Loudoun County Prevention/Intervention Program has a partnership with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office and Loudoun County Public Schools to provide a summer program for youth who are at high risk for substance use, gang involvement, and/or court referred for over ten years. The program, Camp R.E.A.L. (Raising Education, Achievement and Leadership) is the summer component of a continuum of services for high-risk youth provided by MHSAS Prevention/Intervention. Camp REAL, focuses on community service which gives youth a unique opportunity to give back to their community while attending daily structured, therapeutic activities. Key outcomes include increases in positive social involvement, neighborhood and school attachment, and an association with a positive peer group during the summer months.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office has provided a minimum of three School Resource Officers (SROs) to assist Prevention/Intervention staff in camp activities daily. The SROs provide presentations on internet safety, vaping and other topics when requested. The NOBLE (National Organization of Black Law Enforcement) Program also provides a presentation which teaches high school youth proper ways to respond during encounters with law enforcement, explores what community policing is and discusses the realities of working in Law Enforcement. The LCSO involvement provides an opportunity for youth to develop positive relationships with the officers, often changing the way they view law enforcement. Sheriff Chapman stated in an article regarding Camp R.E.A.L. in 2012, “This camp is critical in helping steer our troubled youth in the right direction. The LCSO is happy to work with our County partners to help make a positive difference in our children’s lives and teach them valuable skills so they can make good decisions in the future.”