Hi everyone! My name is Caiti Filippi, and I am writing to you as the Coordinator for this year's CSI Camp! To give you a little bit of background about me, I am a senior from Huntingtown, MD, and I am studying Criminal Justice here at Waynesburg University. This is my 5th year with Waynesburg's CSI Camp - my first two years I was a camper, my third year a camp counselor, and last year I helped out behind the scenes. This year, as coordinator, I have had not only a bigger role behind the scenes, but I have helped our Camp Director (Mike Cipoletti) plan the camp from start to finish, which has been so cool! To go from being a camper to now helping organize the entire week has been pretty awesome to say the least, but enough about me! I want to give you an inside look at some of the things that we have been doing this past week, but first a little background on this years camp. We have 54 campers from a variety of states, including:
• and even ones from Florida and Arizona! How cool is that?!
In addition to the campers, we have 20 camp counselors who are all current Waynesburg University students, majoring in Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, Forensic Accounting, and Computer Forensics. I just want to say how awesome our camp staff is - we could not run this camp without them!
And now for the good stuff - crime scenes, arson investigations, profiling, cybercrimes, surveillances, and search warrant executions! Those are just a handful of things that we have done the past few days here, and we are nowhere near done yet!
The campers arrived on Sunday, and while they were given a small idea of what to expect for the week, I don't think they had any clue just how much we had planned for them. After the first few hours of move-ins, introductions, and getting to know each other, we jumped into the swing of things by kicking things off with scavenger hunts, movies, and ice cream socials - the campers really seemed to enjoy the first night and were so excited to get started the next day!
The second day of camp was definitely jam-packed with activities and presenters, and the students loved it! We brought in so many professionals including, an expert in forensic psychology (Waynesburg University professor Dr. Keith Reider), an FBI agent from the FBI-CJIS (Criminal Justice Information Services) division in Clarksburg, WV, and agents from the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF for short) - Pittsburgh Division, just to name a few. The campers were able to learn how to properly process crime scenes, how to conduct arson investigations, how to profile suspects (including what it takes to profile serial killers - scary stuff!), and how to determine the different types of explosives used... this was just all in one day!
Day 3 (which is probably my favorite day of camp) was definitely active to say the least. The night before, myself and two other counselors showed the campers what it means to conduct a surveillance, and gave them some tips for successfully following other suspects. Yesterday was the campers turn to give it a try, and see how hard it is to follow someone for a few hours without them even knowing. As I am sure they can tell you, it is not an easy task! Here at Waynesburg University, students in criminal justice and the forensics have to participate in surveillances as a part of a class that we must take in order to graduate - so we decided to give the campers a taste of what that is like for us, and we ask University students to act as role players (aka drug dealers) and be followed around by the campers for a few hours. The role players make fake drug deals, and the campers are asked to move in, make arrests, and conduct interviews in order to collect enough info for a search warrant. When all is said and done, at the end of yesterday, fake drugs were sold, arrests were made, search warrants were executed, doors were kicked down, and evidence was collected - all in all, a pretty awesome day!
If that sounds exciting, wait until you hear what the campers are doing today. Burial excavations!!! We set up scenes for the campers to dig up, using the proper techniques shown to them so that they can uncover remains and figure out what happened to that person. Before I continue, let me just insert a major disclaimer here and say that no real bodies were used in this!! (Just in case you were concerned about that - I know I would be!) We use fake skeletons, and bury it with evidence, so that the campers have to fit the pieces together and solve the puzzle.
That is all I have for now, but feel free to ask any questions, and stay tuned for more updates throughout the camp!