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The Madison Record

Sixth-graders learn self-defense, police work at 2012 Kids Camp

“No! No! No!” echoed against gym walls as youngsters took their stance, arm raised and leg extended.

Officer Chris Townsend taught self-defense moves at Kids Camp.

They kicked and sliced during the radKIDS(r) course introduced at the 2012 Kids Camp. (‘rad’ represents ‘resist aggression defensively.’)

Madison Police Foundation sponsors the annual summer camp for students who will enter sixth grade in August. The weeklong camps met on June 11-15 and again this week from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Discovery Middle School.

With headquarters in South Dennis, Mass., radKIDS offers safety training for children by nationally certified instructors drawn from their own communities (radkids.org).

Officer Chris Townsend with the Madison Police Department earned radKIDS certification in Boston. “I drove 21 hours to get the training,” Townsend said.

Bringing the curriculum to Madison, Townsend led classes, assisted by other officers, in home, school and vehicle safety; out-and-about safety; realistic defense against abduction; good versus bad touch; stranger tricks and realizing one’s own power.

During one session, Townsend and Officer Ralph Dawe strapped on martial arts pads for students to practice defense stances. One after another, students approached the officer, screamed “No!” and proceeded with kicks to the shin, knee and chest using their hands, feet and elbows.

After each kick, the children then ran to the “safe zone” designated in the Discovery gym.

“What is radKIDS’ no. 1 rule?” Townsend asked campers. “No one has the right to hurt me because I am special,” they said. The no. 2 rule states, “I don’t have the right to hurt anyone else unless they try to hurt me and then I stop them.”

The third rule for radKIDS is “If anyone tries to hurt me, trick me or make me feel bad inside, it’s not my fault — so I can tell” an adult about the situation.

Madison Police Foundation started Kids Camp in 2001 to allow young people to meet officers and learn about their work as police officers.

Kids Camp also included outdoor games and visits by Special Weapons and Tactical (SWAT) team, MedFlight helicopter, K-9 unit and Madison Fire and Rescue Department.

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