For the 13 members of the Porterdale Explorers program, they have gained more than just knowledge of law enforcement, they have gained a family.
The group recently helped put up a flag pole outside of the Porterdale Police Department. They have also helped with directing traffic during the Fourth of July celebrations and the reunions. They have big plans to continue with their community assistance during Halloween and the Christmas holidays as well.
But it's about more than volunteering in their community. It's about more than learning new skills. It's all of that and then some. It's teamwork and camaraderie and a sense of family that they are learning within their group. With every fundraiser and every new recruit, the kids are bettering themselves by working together.
"I was afraid," said one Explorer, talking about her initial experience for Explorers. "But once I got here [to a meeting] everyone was real friendly and accepting and that fear went right away."
When asked to describe themselves, the kids use words like "dependable," "strong" and "integrity." They cannot participate if they don't keep their grades and their attendance up in school, and any disciplinary problems are a black mark as well.
The members - who range in age from 14 to 22 - are learning to be adults, and they are learning from each other and their adult volunteers.
The funds for the program come largely from fundraisers and donations. Dress uniforms are donated from Conyers. The member do have dues ($10 a year), and the program gladly accepts donations, including an adopt-an-Explorer program where dues can be paid for a student from a donor.
For more information, contact Sgt. Jason Cripps at the police department at (770) 786-2226.