News: Corps ranger receives Water Safety awards for service on Kentucky’s Trooper Island
Story by Mark Rankin
ALBANY, Ky. - A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District park ranger received two awards for his volunteer service with youth in the corps Water Safety program at the Kentucky State Police Trooper Island Camp.
Bobby Bartlett, a seasonal park ranger at Dale Hollow Lake, received the Exceptional Service Award from the Kentucky State Police at Trooper Island and a Water Safety Award from the mayor of Clay County, Dale Reagan.
“We have a great program for teaching youth how to be safe in and around water and it feels good to be recognized for doing something I love to do,” said Bartlett.
The awards were presented to Bartlett for his steadfast work as a volunteer instructor at the Kentucky State Police Trooper Island Camp through the Corps' Water Safety program.
“I’m happy to have a great job with the corps that allows me to help others through water safety,” said Bartlett.
“I love being around the youth and helping them gain positive feelings about being in and around water,” said Bartlett.
Bartlett said campers also practice safety in and around the water while learning hygiene, good citizenship and leadership.
During the summer months, between 700-800 youth from across the state of Kentucky attend the camp, and children spend time at Trooper Island Camp with troopers, other area law enforcement officers, and specialized volunteers that make a positive impact on area youth, youth who often have a negative impression of law enforcement prior to their week at camp.
Troopers select Boys and girls, ages 10 to 12, from each of the 16 post areas. The camp is free with no cost to campers and is funded by tax-deductible donations.
“This is a great camp, and I enjoy teaching because everything I do as a water safety instructor is purpose-driven to make a lifelong impact on these children," said Bartlett. “The kids take part in canoeing, fishing, water, nature hikes and swimming activities and water safety is very important.”
Bartlett has been with the Corps since 1974 and he volunteers at the camp during the summer season. He said the Kentucky State police developed Trooper Island Camp in southern Kentucky as a way of giving back to youth in the area. The ages of the kids range from 9-12 years old and some come from various backgrounds and would not often have an opportunity to experience a learning environment like this.
“We have the right ranger for this water safety job,” said Dale Hollow Resource Manager Stephen Beason.
“Bobby is committed to helping youth understand the importance of water safety and we are proud of him for that,” he said.
The trooper island website said Trooper Island Camp was developed in 1965 by the Kentucky State Police as part of a long-range program of public service to the youth of Kentucky.
Spearheaded by former KSP director, Col. James E. Bassett, the idea was to establish a permanent recreational site where troopers and children could share a weeklong experience. The free summer camp is for underprivileged boys and girls.
A location was selected in a secluded corner of Dale Hollow Lake in southern Kentucky, where an island was leased from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“I’m glad the Corps supports Trooper Island through our water safety program,” said Bartlett. “It really works and is dedicated toward the development of one’s self image.”
For more information go to http://www.kentuckystatepolice.org/post.htm