By Tom Tolen /

The Brighton Police Dept. and Brighton Area Fire Authority are combining forces this year to jointly sponsor a Summer Youth Camp for high school kids from 14-18 years of age. The deadline for registration has already passed, and a total of 30 high school-aged youths who applied for the program made the cut.

The original program in Brighton, which got its start in 2019, was a huge success, and continued the following year. However, Due to the COVID pandemic, the academy was put on pause in 2020 and '21.

The first week of the Summer Youth Camp will take place on June 16th, 17th and 20th with police dept. mentors, while the second week, at the Dorr Road fire station in Genoa Twp., will be held on June 21st, 22nd and 23rd, and will be supervised by fire dept. personnel. The two agencies say the camp is a “unique opportunity to experience what it's like to be a Brighton police officer or firefighter” and, at the same time, to have fun.

Brighton Police Chief Rob Bradford discussed the resumption of the youth camp after a 2-year hiatus at Thursday night’s City Council meeting, saying it has been a very worthwhile program and he welcomes it back. Bradford told council, “They’re going to get a chance to see both sides and…make a decision, what they like: police, fire, or whether they (are interested in) public safety.”

Another goal is for the youths involved to become more self-confident while learning leadership and team-building skills. In past programs, the participants heard presentations by the US Coast Guard, the National Guard, MSP Bomb Squad, and a demonstration involving the Brighton Police Department’s K-9 dog. They were also taken on guided tours of 53rd District Court and how the court functions.

For those who successfully complete the 2022 program, graduation will take place on June 24th.