7th annual radKIDS Summer Safety Camp kicks off Monday

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CPD DARE Officer Cindy Rohrscheib with a participant in last year's radKIDS camp / Tribune File Photo

CULLMAN – From June 26-30, the Cullman Police Department and Cullman Parks and Recreation will offer their seventh annual radKIDS Summer Safety Camp for children ages 5-11.

According to the radKIDS website, “radKIDS Personal Empowerment Safety Education program is a 10-hour family centered safety education program that emphasizes essential decision-making skills as well as physical resistance options to escape violence. radKIDS is a life skills educational model that enhances natural instincts with real skills while increasing the foundational resiliency skills we all need to not only survive but excel.”

Students enrolled in the class will learn:

  • Internet safety from online predators
  • Defending against vicious dogs
  • Escaping a house fire
  • Escaping an abduction
  • Gun safety
  • Good touch vs. bad touch
  • What to say when calling 911
  • How to physically resist an attack

The course will be led by certified radKIDS instructor and CPD DARE Officer Cindy Rohrscheib. Classes will meet from 9-11 a.m. each day at the Cullman Civic Center; refreshments will be provided. The cost is $7 per child, and preregistration is encouraged, since space is limited. If space is available, kids will be allowed to join up until June 28, the third day of the class. Registration forms are available at the CP&R front desk at the Civic Center.

The Tribune spoke with Rohrscheib about what students will do during the course.

“Every day we’ll do a different aspect of safety, and every day they’ll learn a new self-defense move. If someone picks you up who shouldn’t pick you up, we’ll teach you things that will make them want to put you down. If you’re trapped in your room by a fire in your house, we’ll teach you how to get out. We’ll teach them about approaching strange dogs and, if the dog bites, how to protect their bodies from the most serious injuries.

“The first thing we’ll teach is how to contact dispatch and use 911. We’ll have people playing dispatchers, so kids can practice talking to dispatchers on a cell phone. They’ll learn what to say to a dispatcher, and how to stay calm and answer the dispatchers’ questions.”

Is this kind of instruction really needed in Cullman? Rohrscheib answered with an emphatic “Yes!”

“It’s a big issue all around,” she stated. “Four out of five girls will have their personal space invaded in an inappropriate way by the time they turn 18, ranging from things that just make them uncomfortable to full-blown sexual assault. And many of these will go unreported. I hear stories every day, ‘I went out with this guy who made me uncomfortable, but I don’t want to report it.’”

Rohrscheib also pointed out that Cullman County is often one of the top counties in the state for incidents of incest, inappropriate sexual contact involving relatives.

She shared, “I teach kids that if you don’t want to hug someone, you don’t have to. We tend to force our kids to put themselves in uncomfortable situations with relatives because we’re more concerned about an adult’s feelings than about our kids. We don’t realize that, when we make our kids hug people they’re not comfortable with, that we’re teaching them that it’s okay for a relative to make them uncomfortable. Then, when something bad happens, they’re more likely to go along with it and not report it. We need to get a different view on what we teach these kids.”

For more information on radKIDS, visit www.radkids.org. For more information on this class, contact Rohrscheib at 256-736-4703.

At a glance

radKIDS Personal Empowerment Safety Education course

  • Monday, June 26 through Friday, June 30 at the Cullman Civic Center
  • 9-11 a.m., refreshments provided
  • Instructor Cindy Rohrscheib
  • $7 per child, preregistration encouraged

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