In 1999, the Polk County Sheriff's Office Juvenile Boot Camp in conjunction with the Polk County School Board, introduced an agriculture vocational program. The program is used to teach transition students (Boot Camp graduates) various horticulture and landscaping skills, and that they can make a positive difference in the community.
Although the program has only existed for about 2 years, its contributions to Polk County have been wide spread. While participants of the program have benefited as a result of the skills they have learned, Polk County schools, parks, and historical buildings have received noticeable face-lifts to their landscapes.
This year alone, approximately $12,000 worth of plants and labor have been donated by the Polk County Sheriff's office to complete local projects. After originally purchasing plant seeds in 1999 at a minimal cost, the Polk County Boot Camp has developed its own nursery which houses an array of plants and trees that have been used to landscape Lake Region High School, the historical L.B. Brown house in Bartow, Carter Road Park, the Millennium Park adjacent to the BOCC building in Bartow, Floral Elementary School, and numerous other locations.
In the early stages of its existence, the program contacted local organizations and offered its services. However, as a result of several successful projects throughout the county, the Boot Camp is regularly contacted regarding future projects and is currently scheduled to work projects every weekend for the next 4 months.
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