Camp X-RAYD – Examine Reality About Your Decisions provides at-risk youth with information and experiences to help them make choices that lead to improved health, and productive, law-abiding citizenship.
Wanting to reduce the re-offense rate among Teen Court clients who were actively engaging in substance abuse or other risky behaviors, Teen Court of Sarasota, Inc. was awarded a grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation to develop rehabilitative sanctions specifically for that most at-risk group of area youth. Collaborating with the Police Athletic League (PAL) of Sarasota County, and the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Camp X-RAYD is an additional service that compliments their traditional Teen Court sentence. The intent of the services is to intervene in delinquent behavior by educating youth, through first hand experiences, about the reality and risks of their decisions.
The services provided by Camp X-RAYD place an emphasis on the development of leadership and communication skills. Each participant is encouraged to take responsibility and be accountable for their own decisions and actions.
This intensive 21-hour program is an adjunct service for at-risk youth who have been screened by Teen Court Staff. The first of three phases of services required for successful completion starts when participants arrive at the Sheriff’s Office Training Center at Knight Trail Park on a Saturday morning at 0600 hours. The Sheriff’s Office instructors, along with Teen Court staff, check the participants in, establish the rules and expectations, and then, after the youth change into jail uniforms and clear drug screening, begin a series of physical training and learn building exercises that focus on cooperation, communication, and teamwork.
As the day proceeds, participants begain a “reality tour” that will show them some of the negative outcomes that result from making bad decisions. First stop, the Sarasota County Jail, where they experience the smells, sounds, and taste of what life in the correctional system is like, including conversations with inmates and corrections staff.
Following the jail tour is a visit to the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Emergency Room where they meet medical trauma personnel who explain the realities of dealing with a drug overdose and drunk driving. They learn about the process of administering lifesaving medical procedures when patients have taken a potentially lethal dose of drugs.
The next stop is the Sarasota County Medical Examiner’s Office where they are exposed to the reality of death as they learn about laws that require autopsies on minors, the heartache and finality of death caused to loved ones by the loss of a young person.
Returning to the Knight Trail facility, participants spend time with the instructors processing what they have experienced throughout the day. The 12 hour day is concluded with their parent(s) or guardian learning about the day’s activities and a question and answer period with instructors and Teen Court staff.
Phase two consists of the juveniles and members of their family participating in nine hours of substance abuse education classes. These sessions will teach the entire family skills they can use to improve communication while they gain a better understanding about how decisions andbehaviors have both long and short term impacts on their emotional and physical health.
Phase three consists of follow-up by Teen Court case managers who will continue working with the participants for six months following the final class. In order to successfully complete the program, each child must stay crime free, attend school, abide by the rules established in their home, and complete the community service and jury duty service required by their Teen Court contract.
Special Thanks to:
Sarasota County Medical Examiner’s Office
Wilson Wood Foundation