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Police: Youth programs

Community Athletic Program

The Community Athletic Program, or CAP, consists of a traveling trailer filled with sports gear, games and video game equipment and staffed by school resource officers. The concept is for police to engage with at-risk youth in areas where young people congregate during the summer months. The CAP is deployed to neighborhoods where youth gather – usually unsupervised – and offers productive activities with an aim to deter crime and gang involvement. As an added benefit, the program fosters positive relationships between at-risk youth and police. The program utilizes school resource officers by deploying them to work with youth throughout the summer.  Activities include basketball, baseball, flag football, floor hockey, tennis, board games, and video games. This year, CAP will operate Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.,  from July 6 to Aug. 7. Click here for a list of locations.


Youth Police Academy

The Youth Police Academy is a free, one-week, overnight academy designed to help young people explore career and leadership opportunities, life skills and character education. This year's Youth Police Academy will be held July 26-31. Participants spend the week participating in law enforcement classroom instruction, practical applications and scenarios.  Recruits participate in drill and ceremony, physical training, classroom instruction and practical exercises in patrol techniques, domestic violence, crime-scene processing and the execution of traffic stops. They also utilize a firearms simulator and driving simulator, participate in team-building exercises and enjoy a movie night. The overnight accommodations include meals and a uniform. The application deadline for the 2015 Youth Police Academy is April 24.

Youth Police Academy brochure  

Youth Police Academy application 


P.L.E.D.G.E. Summer Leadership Camps

P.L.E.D.G.E. Summer Leadership Camp is a free, one-week program designed to help students entering the ninth grade develop leadership skills. P.L.E.D.G.E. stands for pride, leadership, education, diversity, gang resistance and evaluation. Through a series of discussions and practical activities, participants learn the value of teamwork and skills that foster leadership. Lessons and activities challenge their ability to make critical decisions, focus on core beliefs and values, recognize diversity and work toward a common goal. One highlight of the camp is a field trip to Terrapin Adventures, where campers participate in confidence-building activities. Campers navigated obstacle courses, played games and completed tasks designed to challenge the group to work together. If you know of a student who would benefit from the camp, please submit his or her name for consideration to any School Resource Officer.

The first P.L.E.D.G.E. camp of the year will be held July 20-24, 2015. Open enrollment is April 13-June 19, 2015.

The second P.L.E.D.G.E. camp of the year will be held Aug. 3-7, 2015. Open enrollment is April 13-July 2, 2015.

P.L.E.D.G.E. Summer Leadership Camp Registration Packet 

P.L.E.D.G.E. Summer Leadership Camp brochure 

Bear Trax

In an effort to provide our services to more children, the Youth Services Section has transformed the BearTrax Program back to an overnight camp as it was originally designed. Previously, the year-around BearTrax Program solely benefitted children at the Running Brook Elementary School.  While we have received encouraging feedback from parents/guardians about the positive impact the year-around BearTrax Program has had on their children who attended the Running Brook Elementary School, both parents (whose children do not attend Running Brook Elementary School) and school administrators requested that the program be available to all students no matter what school they attend.   The new change to the program permits children to attend the BearTrax Camp regardless of their school district – thus, more children will benefit from the services BearTrax has to offer.


School administrators will continue to be the primary source for identifying students who would most benefit from the BearTrax Camp and who are transitioning from elementary school to middle school. Children nominated are not delinquent; however, elements in their environment have been identified as potential cause of later problems. Some of the children have poor social skills, lack decision-making and problem-solving skills and have low self-esteem. A number of children come from single-parent households and families with two working parents.  Many have a reduced number of adult role models that they can look up and relate to in a positive manner.


The philosophy of the BearTrax Program remains the same. It is designed to enhance relationships between police officers and youth and provides role models that help a child develop socially and emotionally. Mentors help kids learn to understand and communicate their feelings, to relate to their peers, and to develop positive relationships with other adults.  Through the BearTrax Camp, mentors will attempt to instill children with a healthy sense of importance and self-confidence.  They will be taught communication skills, conflict management and a sense of respect for others.   The Camp will reinforce important social lessons, where entertaining activities will be used to focus on topics such as physical fitness, bullying, anger management, first aid, personal safety, gang awareness, peer pressure, cyber safety, team building, character building and community services.


Another purpose for the BearTrax Program is to help students transition from elementary to middle school.  During the camp, Middle School Resource Officers are introduced to the children. It is our hope that by introducing incoming 6th graders to the officers and other students that will be attending the same middle school with them in the fall, we may help alleviate any apprehensions they may have about this transition.   To address this transition, the Youth Services Section has, therefore, created a tier component of the BearTrax Program which includes a mentoring element to assist the new 6th grade students throughout their first year in middle school. The children subsequently enter their new school with an established group of friends that they have developed while attending the BearTrax Camp.  The relationships established between the officers and with other campers who will be attending the same middle school will certainly help these children as they make this sometimes difficult transition.  


To continue the mentoring of the children, each child will be assigned a police mentor who will meet with the child in a school setting on a monthly basis.  These mentors are role models who will guide and support each of its students.  The child’s academic and social performance both at school and home will be discussed in an effort to help make improvements if needed.  Mentors will discuss how the child’s academic and social achievements today will help them achieve their future goals. Mentors will also communicate with school administrators throughout the year to further monitor the child’s progress.    


Explorer Post 1952

Explorer Post 1952 offers young people an opportunity to learn about law enforcement and serve the community. Exploring is a worksite-based program and is designed to help youth gain insight into a career in law enforcement. Howard County Police Explorer Post 1952 offers experiential learning with fun, hands-on activities that promote growth and development. Explorers develop leadership and teamwork skills, preparing them to enter college or the workforce, while serving the community and enhancing public safety.

Minimum qualifications 

  • At least 14 years old and have completed the eighth grade or 15 years old but not older than 20 years old
  • Howard County resident
  • Maintain at least a C average
  • Upstanding citizen
  • No criminal background
  • Parental permission
  • Recommendations 


  • Direct traffic and control parking at various county events
  • Fingerprint children at special events
  • Participate in crime prevention activities


  • Learn police procedures, tactics and skills
  • Gain insight into a future career in law enforcement
  • Earn community service hours for high school and college
  • Ride along with police officers on patrol
  • Compete against other Explorers in regional and national events

Get involved 

Contact PFC John Gazmen, Explorer advisor, at 410-313-2610 or jgazmen@howardcountymd.gov. 

Explorer Post 1952 brochure
Explorer Post 1952 web site