Sheriff’s Office offering youth programs |

Sheriff’s Office offering youth programs

Cindy Ramunno Special to the Daily
Vail Daily/Bret HartmanPower Team member Matt Dopson breaks through seven layers of brick with each arm Thursday during a demonstration at Battle Mountain High School. Mark Kerr and Jim Griffen stabilize the cinder blocks to control the scatter of debris. The Power Team is a group of motivational speakers who perform at area schools through area churches and the Eagle County Sheriff's Department.

Amid the Kobe Bryant controversy, there are a handful of staff members working behind the scenes at the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office to provide opportunities for Vail Valley kids.

Most students at Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley high schools already know deputy Bob Silva, who has been working with the school district and its students. Middle- and high-school kids have also come to know deputy Ted Eichholz as a source for legal education and drug education.

Now kids at those high schools are getting to know deputies Dan Hanson, Tamera Blackard and Tanny McGinnis. The trio offers a class titled “Boundaries – Set Them.”

Other schools in Colorado – and even some out-of-state schools – are clamoring for the deputies to make a trip to their campuses to teach the three-day class.

“We talk about emotional boundaries and then give students the tools to set and enforce those boundaries for themselves,” says McGinnis. Although the class is offered to all grade levels, the schools are urging freshmen, in particular, to take the class.

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Class participants discuss, among other topics, the touchy subjects of date rape, drugs and alcohol.

“We have so much fun, and it’s very much a comfortable, laid-back atmosphere for those three days,” says McGinnis.

Students also say the class is comfortable and that a lot of learning goes on. One female student at Battle Mountain says that although teens often hear about date rape and other situations, it’s hard to know exactly what to do.

“The deputies made it clear for us – we already know what lines we won’t cross, but they taught us how to enforce those standards in a difficult situation,” she said.

Another Sheriff’s Office program students are participating in is called the Power Team.

Power Team members perform “Crusades at Night,” which include, of course, feats of strength and motivational stories. Hanson got the ball rolling for the group, and various church groups – including the Vail Bible Church -stepped up with the funding.

“I saw the Power Team on an episode of Walker Texas Ranger, and then got on their Web site,” says Hanson.

The team has performed a number of times, giving students and their parents several opportunities to see the group. Students and staff members raved about the performances.

Eagle County School District superintendent John Brendza attended the show at Gypsum Creek Middle School.

“We welcome these types of messages for our students and anytime those messages are blended with entertainment, it’s sure to hit home for students,” Brendza says.

The curriculum for the boundaries class is flexible, leading to diverse discussion and questions. Sheriff Joe Hoy says that a positive message – given through sources such as the Power Team and the boundaries class – is critical in reaching students.

“Our deputies are dedicated and committed to sending the right message to children,” says Hoy.

To learn more about youth education programs through the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, call 328-8500.

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