New Osceola County program helps children stay out of trouble

By Stephanie Bechara, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, March 08, 2018, 5:21 PM EST

Thirteen-year-old Juan Laboi has big dreams of one day becoming a police officer, but he wants to get rid of his bad habits first.

Juan is part of Camp Kind, a brand new program the Osceola County Sheriff's Office rolled out. 

  • Camp Kind designed for kids who get in trouble
  • Children participate in camp instead of serving suspension
  • Camp teaches kids life skills, how to build morale

The program is designed to help children who get into trouble. Instead of serving suspension, these children partake in Camp Kind for three days.

"I need to stop getting into fights. I am known to get into fights," Juan said.

He received indoor suspension for having a pocket knife on school campus. Juan said he accidentally brought it to school but immediately reported his actions to the administration.

Camp Kind teaches these kids life skills and how to build morale through team building exercises. 

"We know where they are at. The structure is being set. They're not roaming the streets, they're not out committing crimes,” said Sheriff Russell Gibson. “They're not out burglarizing and terrorizing the streets per say. They are here, they're with us, and your children are being taken care of."

The program is located on Lake X at the Kenneth Kirchman Foundation, on the outskirts of St. Cloud.

"… positive interaction with law enforcement as well to where they can meet with us in a different environment where we're not wearing a uniform. We don't seem too intimidating to them,” said Sergeant Joel Nicholson. “They can build a relationship with us."

Juan said he's learned his lesson and after Camp Kind, he definitely wants to turn things around.

"Respect the police officers, well that's one and do what you're supposed to do… And after you experience this, behave," he added.

The program was created through a partnership between the school district and the Kirchman Foundation. Camp Kind is now working with several schools, but the goal is to open it up districtwide.