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D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) started in 1983 in Los Angeles, California as a partnership between parents, schools and law enforcement to educate children on the consequences of drug abuse and teaching good decision making skills to enable them to live productive drug and violence-free lives. DARE is in 75 percent of our nation's school districts and in more than 43 countries around the world.

DARE began in 1985 in several schools in Henderson County as a pilot program for North Carolina and was implemented in 1987 in all the elementary schools locally. DARE has continued in the classroom since that time with well-trained, dedicated officers making a difference in children’s lives. The DARE Curriculum is focused at the 5th grade level, but has lessons available for all grades.


Nineteen years ago, then-Sheriff George Erwin and our DARE Officers wanted to expand on lessons learned in the classroom during 5th grade DARE. A summer camp experience was begun. DARE Camp has grown from a day camp with 35 campers to an overnight camp with approximately 220 campers each year. Activities include: archery, swimming, first aide, zip line, “the blob”, fishing, canoeing, crafts, team challenges, singing, devotions, skit night, campfire, DARE Dance, self-defense, kayaking, K-9 demonstration, speakers, lots of good food and fun! Campers learn to do new things, build friendships and more than anything learn that you can have an extraordinary amount of fun without drugs!

Knowing that children look up to young people a little older than they are, we select drug-free middle, high school and college students as role models to be DARE Camp Counselors. The majority of our Counselors were DARE Campers themselves. They return year after year to invest in those younger than them. The Counselors and adults involved become like a family. We support each other throughout the year.

We have enjoyed tremendous support from a community that sees the value in the DARE program. Sheriff Charlie McDonald supports the DARE program and its efforts 100% and we absorb all costs of overtime and staffing for approximately 15 positions during the six days of camp. With the current economy, more than ever, it will take support from private entities, corporate sponsorship and the generosity of the community, to keep our efforts going with this program. As with many programs it is difficult to continue the expectation of taxpayers funding this. We as an agency recognize this and due to the value the Sheriff sees in this program we will diligently strive to find funding however we can to ensure this valuable program for our 5th grade children in Henderson County continues.

We need around $35,000 per year to fund the 5th grade classroom portion of DARE and the Summer Camp experience. We are raising money to ensure the continuation of this proactive vital program.

Donations can be brought or mailed to:

Henderson County DARE Program
100 North Grove Street
Hendersonville, NC 28792

PayPal is also available to accept secure online donations.

Questions can be emailed to ncdare2@hendersoncountync.org. Thank you for your support of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office DARE Program.


Henderson County Sheriff's Office
100 North Grove Street | Hendersonville, North Carolina 28792

Phone: 828-697-4596
Administration Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm