For 20 years, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (MSO) has run one of the county’s most popular summer programs. The Youth Public Safety Academy, or YPSA, is a low cost, educationally-focused camp that hosted more than 1,020 youngsters this past year.
Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian credits the ongoing success of YPSA to the MSO staff and numerous community partners who participate each year. This year, officers and firefighters from 63 public safety agencies led cadets in personal safety training, classes on fire safety awareness, and tours of their hometown stations. Additionally, the Massachusetts Department of Fire Safety provided equipment for the six-week summer program.
“YPSA is a community endeavor – what makes it so special is how these young kids and their local public safety officials can spend time together, share important lessons, and hopefully continue those connections back in their hometowns,” said Sheriff Koutoujian. “I think the positive response we get from parents and cadets each year stems from the value they see in having a fun, educational, community-oriented summer experience.”
This year, more than 1,300 youngsters applied for the camp, coming from 44 Middlesex County communities: Acton, Arlington, Ashland, Ayer, Bedford, Belmont, Billerica, Boxborough, Burlington, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Concord, Dracut, Dunstable, Everett, Framingham, Groton, Hopkinton, Hudson, Lexington, Littleton, Lowell, Malden, Marlborough, Maynard, Medford, Melrose, Natick, Newton, North Reading, Reading, Sherborn, Shirley, Somerville, Stoneham, Stow, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, Waltham, Watertown, Wakefield, Westford, Woburn and Wilmington.
In addition to existing funding, this year the academy received grants from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and Attorney General Maura Healey’s office. These grants helped fund additional cadet spots, as well as staff and equipment.
Registration for next year’s YPSA is expected to open in early March, 2019. For information on the Academy and the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office’s other community-based programming, please visit middlesexsheriff.org/community.