July 7, 2004
Lawrence W. Crow, Jr.
Carrie Rodgers, (863) 534-6217 OR (863) 819-1856
POLK COUNTY BOOT CAMP RECEIVES TWO DJJ AWARDS
The Polk County Juvenile Boot Camp was
recently recognized by the state Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ)
when it was awarded the "Best Practice Award" and received second place
for the "Restorative Justice Award".
The Best Practice Award is given to the residential and correctional
facility who displays development and youth involvement in a creative
and productive program practice. The Polk County Juvenile Boot Camp has
been engaged in an agriculture and aquaculture project since 2002,
called "The Vocational Greenhouse Program".
The Boot Camp has actively sought and received grant funds to expand and
maintain the program, which has enabled the youth to grow a variety of
vegetables and raise fish, more than 750 pounds of which has been
donated to local food banks. Aside from classroom instruction, the youth
receive hands-on experience in nurturing plants and animals, donating to
the community, and landscaping. The program aids in mathematics,
improves self-esteem and teamwork, and creates awareness of
The Boot Camp also received second place in the Restorative Justice
Award category, which recognizes the youth's involvement in restorative
justice activities and services for crime victims. Again, the Boot Camp
utilized its greenhouse project to teach the young offenders to give
back to the community through landscaping efforts and donations, and
park and cemetery restorations. In addition, the youth participate in
gang graffiti eradication projects all over the county. They learn to
understand first hand to have respect for other peoples' property, and
it gives them an outlet in which to make amends for past crimes.