Kentucky State Police 'Trooper Island' provides much-needed retreat for children

BURKESVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - A camp is allowing Kentucky State Police and children who have troubled home lives to escape the daily situations they face.

Children get to enjoy outdoor activities at Kentucky State Police Trooper Island (WKYT)

Kentucky State Police, along with all first responders are dealing with compassion fatigue. The constant call-outs to overdoses are draining and thankless.

Trooper Island is a week-long camp for kids age 10 to 12 and troopers of any age.

"This is an opportunity for them to kind of recharge those batteries," explained Jonathan Bivin.

Bivin runs Trooper Island on Dale Hollow Lake. The island runs on top of the Kentucky-Tennessee line.

"One of the things I tell the troopers before they come here is leave that trooper persona, that ‘Rambo’ if you will, over on the mainland because when you're here, I want you to be a 10 and 12-year-old kid."

The kids are hand-picked by KSP posts and the schools they attend. These are kids that need a break from reality, much like the troopers.

"Sometimes we get kids whose parents may have overdosed. We have several here this year whose parents have died because of that. We have several whose parents are in jail," Bivin explained. "It doesn't matter what their home situation is, when they are here, they are all the same."

The kids swim, canoe, fish, learn how to use a bow and arrow, among all the typical other camp activities. At night they hang out with troopers.

Morgan is spending her first week at the camp. Her perception of police has already changed.

"Police are funnier," she told WKYT Investigates.

She talked about the heavy police presence in her school because of a high number of threats. Now, she said she understands they are there to help, not scare.

"I've been in schools in a uniform and the kids are putting their hands up in the air and saying don't shoot," Bivin said. "That's not what we're trying to do here."

The camps are over for this summer but check with your area's police post for more information about next summer.

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