Idea for Lions Safety Camp born out of tragedy
ELBURN—Aubrey Broz and her father were on their way to go fishing when they noticed a large number of people gathered at the corner of North Third and Reader streets in Elburn. When Aubrey asked her dad about it, he explained that the people were there to remember Caitlyn Phillips, the 13-year-old who was killed by a car at that intersection while roller skating.
Aubrey, 10, could relate to Caity’s tragic accident, as she skates through the Elburn neighborhoods, as well. She felt sad for Caity and her family, and while she and her dad were fishing, she thought about what she could do. Aubrey told her dad that she wanted to figure out a way to teach other children how to be safe, so that this wouldn’t happen to other children.
Aubrey’s mom and dad, Lara and Dave Broz, are both Lions Club members, with Dave the current president. Aubrey, who will enter fifth grade at Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School in the fall, is a Junior Leo, so it was natural to approach the service organization for a way to make it happen.
Elburn Lions Kids’ Safety Camp
Monday, Aug. 5, and Tuesday, Aug. 6
8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Lions Club, 500 Filmore St., Elburn
Contact person: Lion Lara Broz (630) 544-0236
Participation is free; the expenses for the camp will be paid for with funds from the Elburn Days 5k Run.
For more information, visit the Elburn Lion’s website, www.elburnlions.com.
Aubrey worked on her presentation and practiced it at home before she spoke at the next Leo’s meeting. She said the Leos liked the idea and said they would help with a safety camp at Lions Park.
Lara did a lot of the leg work to find out about what other organizations did at safety camps across the country, before they came up with a plan for Elburn, as well as contacting various individuals and groups to ask them to participate.
Lara said they decided on an age range of 7 to 10 years old, because that was early enough to teach the children about making good choices, and not too early, before they would be able to absorb the information and apply it.
The Elburn Fire Department and Police Department will both be involved, as well as the Kane County Sherriff’s Department.
Much of the two-day session will focus on how to participate in activities safely, whether it is biking, skating or skateboarding.
Firearm safety, drug awareness, how to cross a railroad track safely, fire safety and a session on bullying will also be part of the camp.
Members of the DeKalb-based Barbed Wire Betties, a competitive women’s roller derby league, will join the children on the second day of camp to talk to them about the importance of wearing your gear, and to teach them how to fall correctly without getting hurt.
“We all wear our gear, even when we practice,” said LaToya Marz, a member of the Betties. “We look cool in our gear.”
Formed in 2012, the Barbed Wire Betties is DeKalb County’s first and only Women’s Roller Derby League. A press release seeking new recruits calls Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby the “hottest new, hard-hitting, fast-moving sport to hit DeKalb County.”
For Kaneland community children to learn that these hard-skating women think safety gear is “cool” has got to be a good message to send.
Marz, who is also a 911 dispatcher for the city of DeKalb, will bring a 911 simulator to the camp, and will have the participants practice calling 911 in an emergency.
There is no charge to participate in the safety camp, but registration is required. Aubrey and her mom have placed flyers they made around town, as well as advertised on the Lions website and Facebook page.
There is room for 40 children, and in three days, 19 have already signed up.
“I’m doing the camp, and I’m also helping with lunch,” Aubrey said.
Dave said that it is sad that such a tragedy happened to one of Kaneland’s children.
“Maybe there’s an opportunity here for us to keep some kids safe,” he said.
Lara said it is such a good feeling to have the Lions Club in the community and to find the support of its members in offering something like this.
“It’s not very often that your child has an idea and you can say ‘yes’ to it, and three months down the road and now it’s here,” Lara said. “It’s a good feeling.”