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Letters: Kilpatrick's need for sports

August 22, 2012
  • Camp Kilpatrick teammates support each other at practice. The sports program at the juvenile detention center in the Malibu Hills -- the subject of the 2006 movie "Gridiron Gang" -- may not return after the aging facility is leveled and rebuilt.
Camp Kilpatrick teammates support each other at practice. The sports program… (Los Angeles Times )

Re "To the sidelines for good?," Column, Aug. 18

As a volunteer in L.A. County's juvenile detention system, I agree with probation officer Kurt Keller: Canceling the sports program at Camp Kilpatrick is a "heartbreaker." Kids desperately need to be taught how to perform in real-life situations.

If there is no issue with money, as the county says, then what could possibly be the reason for abandoning a program that is a proven success? Did theU.S. Department of Justice, which is monitoring the county's juvenile corrections system, specifically rule out sports?

The Department of Justice believes that, based on studies, the best way to spend $41 million to reduce recidivism is to rebuild Kilpatrick without its sports program. However, I don't think living in brand new cottages will matter if the teens don't learn the real-life lessons that competing fairly in sports offers. Kilpatrick's wards may end up back in those cottages very soon.

Alice Buckley

Los Angeles

It is a shame that with all the money wasted on lofty "studies," no one has apparently bothered to study the obvious.

I observed Kilpatrick teams firsthand for several years, and the only inconsistent thing about them was their numbers. Playing was a privilege, and misbehavior meant that a kid would miss games. Sometimes the bench was full, and sometimes there were barely enough players to field a team. But the kids who played knew they were in a spotlight, and their behavior was excellent.

I can only imagine what they learned from these experiences, but since it has never been "studied" it probably has no validity with the feds. Common sense is uncommon inside the Beltway.

Mike Gallagher

La Habra Heights

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