When 13-year-old Caitlyn Phillips of Elburn was killed while inline skating last year, members of the community not only mourned the loss but began to wonder what they could do to prevent similar tragedies.
Aubrey Broz, 11, of Elburn wanted to do something proactive.
She approached her parents about starting a summer safety camp for kids in the Kaneland area. After gaining support from the Elburn Lions Club, Aubrey and her mom Lara launched the two-day event, now in its second year.
"It was so sad, and I just felt so bad for her, and I didn't want it to happen to anybody else," Aubrey said Tuesday from the camp, held at the Lions Club grounds on Filmore Street.
Earlier this summer, 14-year-old Parker Wolfsmith of Maple Park was killed when he was hit by a train. Lara Broz made sure one of the features of the camp was a workshop on railroad safety.
"We need to continue teaching kids what's safe," she said, "So we can prevent stuff like this from continuing to happen."
The two-day camp is free for kids ages 7-10 and teaches them about how to stay safe in situations including bicycling, bullying, fire and even gun and drug safety. The Elburn Days 5k, which takes place August 16 this year, funds the camp.
In addition to the workshops and instruction, the Brozes set up games on the lawn of the Lions Club to keep the kids entertained and in good spirits. The DeKalb Roller Derby league, the Barbed Wire Betties, also showed the kids how to roller and inline skate safely, even showing them techniques for what they can do when they fall or need to come to a sudden stop.
Roller Bettie Katherine "Skeleton" Keyes said, "We did the camp last year and this year. We're just committed to making sure the kids stay safe."