Sheriff Kevin Sproul: Building Up the Next Generation
Tuesday, August 1st, 2017
Before being elected Sheriff in Dougherty County, I worked with the children of this community. Following in the footsteps of Deputy Dawg, I tried to help many youth to develop character based on integrity and to make good decisions for their lives. As Sheriff, I have continued to invest in the youth of this community. I am also proud to stand with the other 158 Sheriffs across Georgia to promote the Georgia Sheriffs’ Youth Homes.
For over 60 years, Georgia Sheriffs’ Youth Homes have provided quality care for hundreds of our state’s most at-risk children.
During the late 1950’s, Georgia Sheriffs became increasingly concerned about the growing number of abandoned, neglected, and abused children. They understood it was vital, not just for the children, but for our state, to give these disadvantaged youth the chance to grow up in a loving and secure home environment.
In 1960, the Sheriffs opened the Georgia Sheriffs’ Boys Ranch near Hahira. The children were able to learn strong moral values and spiritual awareness, how to participate positively in a community, and how to trust themselves and one another.
Over the years, four additional homes have opened across the state for both boys and girls, providing thousands of disadvantaged youth the opportunity to live stable, positive lives in full-time residential facilities.
At the five Youth Home campuses across the state, residents live in a structured, loving environment. The children attend public schools and are offered spiritual and moral teachings. They learn to cook and clean, as well as money management. They receive daily academic tutoring, research training at the library, summer learning programs, and college and vocational school scholarship options. The children are also involved in extra-curricular activities in school and the community such as outdoor adventures including camping, attending professional sporting events, movies, and other structured programs and field trips.
House parents work to instill a strong work ethic in the children, emphasizing education and training for future success. These values help prepare the children to become mature, responsible adults who are able to participate fully and positively in their communities.
While attending my Summer Conference I was reminded of the impact the Georgia Sheriffs’ Youth Homes had on children. Five teenagers, one from each campus gave testimonies, some heart-wrenching, about their past and their bright future because of their Youth Home family.
Georgia Sheriffs’ Youth Homes has also created Camp Pioneer, a unique outdoor program on the Pineland Campus in LaGrange. The summer camp is offered to children who would not otherwise have the opportunity to enjoy an outdoor recreational experience.