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Selma Community Pitches In to Create a G.R.E.A.T. Camping Experience

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G.R.E.A.T. instructor Danny Barcellos, from Selma Police Department in Selma, California, wanted to give area youths an experience to help them discuss G.R.E.A.T. lessons in a not-so-typical setting. With the recreation director, Mikal Kirchner, in partnership with Selma Activities League and with the help of many community people/sponsors, 35 youths from Selma, California, went on a camping trip at the Wishon Point Campground at Bass Lake, California this past Memorial Day weekend.

On their morning hikes, the youths picked up any and all of the trash around the campground to do their part to keep the campground free of pollutants. Officer Barcellos wanted to incorporate G.R.E.A.T. concepts by helping the youths identify with their community and show them how "they could do their part to keep the community ‘green.’" The youths also learned how to pitch their own tents; went fishing, hiking, swimming; rode a party barge and a ski boat; and even got pulled on inner tubes behind the boats.

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At the main campsite, Officer Barcellos facilitated a 45-minute G.R.E.A.T. lesson titled "Say It Like You Mean It," which taught the youths about refusal skills. From this lesson, the youths learned six ways to refuse others, in addition to coming up with their own ways of refusing and picking the one they felt most comfortable using. They were then presented with a scenario and given a chance to show how to use their chosen refusal skill. The other youths had to identify what refusal skill was used to refuse the temptation in the scenario. After some serious learning, the youths headed to the waterfront for some more fun.

Officer Barcellos explained the youths’ reaction to the trip, "To see their smiles was almost indescribable—they were smiling from ear to ear.... Many of the kids said they were having such a good time that they were not ready to go home and are ready for another camping trip next year."

It was not easy for Officer Barcellos to put together such a fun-filled and educational trip. A camping event like this takes an incredible amount of planning and assistance. He had the support of community businesses and people to give the youths an experience they will never forget. Manpower, money, supplies, and food were all donated by local Selma community members wanting to make a difference in the lives of youths.

The following companies and private persons provided either their support or supplies for the camping trip: Rent Me RV of Selma, Selma Pallet, Glacier Refrigeration, Selma Disposal, Don Berry Construction, Tucker and Associates, McCarty Collision Center, Thomas Robinson Funeral Home, Dave and Sara Miramontes, Bob Kirchner, Food 4 Less, Kraft Foods, Bar S, Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Wal-Mart, Frito-Lay, and Rainbow Bread.

Officer Barcellos also gave thanks to Dean and Alice Barcellos of Hanford, who worked relentlessly to prepare all of the meals for everyone throughout this trip, as well as Detective Cassy Fain, Officer Derek Gagnon, Officer Angel Landin, Officer Richard Figueroa, Ms. Frances Figueroa, and Mr. Doug Wells for chaperoning. Without them, this event could have not been possible.

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