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Trooper Island Kid's Camp

Lake Life With Molley And Chad Podcast

Release Date: 08/04/2022

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Episode 18:  In this episode, Molley and Chad speak with Kentucky State Trooper Jonathan Biven about a very special place on Dale Hollow Lake, Trooper Island Kid’s Camp.  Established in 1965, KSP Colonel Ted Bassett wanted to provide a place for underprivileged children to have the opportunity to escape their struggles and have a week to interact in a positive way with law enforcement.  It was meant to let them simply be kids.

Who Gets to Go to Trooper Island Kid’s Camp?

The 35-acre Island has 9 weeks of camps and tries to serve 720 kids ranging between the ages of 10-12 years of age.  It’s open to both girls and boys.  There’s on online Camper Application available on the Camp’s website.  They also offer a Scholarship Program.

The Kentucky State Troopers have 16 posts throughout the Commonwealth.  They work with schools, kids and parents to help identify prospective kids who would be interested in coming to the camp.  Since its beginning, over 60 campers have gone on to become KY State Troopers.  The camp has had over 20,000 campers, so far.  In fact, one of the campers from the 1985-1986 years, is the current Commissioner of the Kentucky State Police, PJ Burnett.

Is the Island just for Kid’s Camp?

Actually, no.  The KSP also makes the facilities available to church groups, local area residents and other uses.  Even when people aren’t on site, there’s still a lot of work to be done.

How Can People Contribute to the Camp?

Trooper Island Kid’s Camp is not supported by state funds.  There’s a constant need to try to raise donations to support the facilities and the mission.  There are raffles, golf tournaments, jeep rallies and other events. 

You can donate directly via the website.  There’s also a way to buy raffle tickets directly through the site.  Inflation is dramatically impacting the budget for fuel, supplies, maintenance and food.  The need is tremendous, but so is the good this camp does. 

A Day in the Life of a Camper on the Island

Trooper Jonathan describes a typical day for the kids who attend Trooper Island Kid’s Camp.  A bus picks them up and transports the 70-80 kids to the camp.  They arrive and take a barge to the island.  They learn how to swim, fish, shoot archery, kayak, hunter & gun safety and general recreation.  It gives them a chance to see the 10-12 troopers interacting with the campers and having fun with everyone.

On Wednesday nights, the troopers put on their KSP uniforms.  The kids quickly begin connecting the fun guys they’ve been spending time with are also troopers.  But more importantly, the recognize that each trooper is also a person.  They are there to help, even when they leave the island.

Trooper Jonathan basically works and lives on the island.  He was a public affairs liaison for KSP.  He first visited the island in 2004.  He became an avid fundraiser for the camp.  Eventually, an opening became available and Jonathan got the job.  His daughters are camp counselors on the island.  He credits his staff with much of the ongoing success of the island and the overall experience.  People work year-round on the island.

Training for Police Officers

One of the ways KSP utilizes Trooper Island is as a training facility.  Police officers are training for DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education program). 

The Louisville metro police dive team will perform rescue/recovery training and skill enhancement at Dale Hollow Lake and use the facilities during that time.

The Kentucky State Police Academy will also utilize the facilities for a week of survival training.

Trooper Jonathan’s Favorite Thing about the Trooper Island

Jonathan mentions is about 1 kid.  This boy came to the camp at age 11.  He’s been to the camp every single year since then.  He’s now 19 years old and is helping as a counselor.  There’s a connection and Jonathan knows the camp is having a positive impact on this young man’s life.

On the other hand, the winter months can be challenging on the island.  If you forget something in town, it takes time to go back and get it.  The weather can be difficult at times.  Thankfully, the staff is here working, but this camp is designed to be filled with campers and visitors.

Open to the Public

Molley and Chad originally won a weekend on the island, in an auction sponsored by an organization.  They’ve been coming back and making donations to support the island ever since that first experience.

Important:  If you would like to come and spend a few days on the island, you can call the office at (270) 433-5422.  If the cabins are available, you can visit and stay there.  They ask that you make a donation for the opportunity.

Closing Words from Trooper Jonathan

The camp is always looking for towels and other supplies.  You can drop them off at a KSP post to be used for the Trooper Island Kid’s Camp.  Some of the kids don’t have the most basic things.  If you have extra clothes that would fit a 10-12 year old child (including bathing suits), they are greatly appreciated.  The kids who attend camp will take the clothes home with them

We’d like to thank Trooper Jonathan Biven for joining us for this episode.  Trooper Island Kid’s Camp is a wonderful resource, provide by the Kentucky State Police and your generous donations. 

That’s a wrap for this episode.  We hope you found it helpful, insightful and maybe a little entertaining. 

Thanks for Listening!

If you enjoyed this podcast, please consider sharing it with your social media friends.  We hope to see you out there soon.  Until next time, here’s to warm weather and calm waters!

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