DARLINGTON, Md. (WJZ) — Some Baltimore City students are getting to enjoy a unique summer camp in Harford County.
The camp is sponsored by the Baltimore City Police Department. It’s designed to help youngsters who come from difficult family situations or who have been in the juvenile justice system.
“About three years ago, we thought what more could we do for our young people in the city of Baltimore who are really struggling,” said Baltimore PD Colonel Melvin Russell. “There’s always great things to do for the good kids, but what you do for the kids who sometimes are looked upon as being the worst of the worst. So we decided to put together something for them.”
The ‘Love You To Live’ leadership Summit is an overnight camp that lasts for one week. It’s a camp with a message.
“That my life is valued and I can live a transformative life. That’s what the camp is all about,” Russell said. “Taking them from ‘A’ to ‘transformation.’ You have to remember that most of these kids are from dysfunctional families.”
The campers don’t know their counselors are Baltimore police officers and other law enforcement officers. They are surprised near the end of the camp.
“When I found out it really shocked me. I was really overwhelmed. I realized police aren’t as bad as I thought they were,” said camper Nairra Broadway-Williams.
Russell says he wants to build trust between the community and the police with this camp.
“Some people still believe that what one police officer does, we all do, but I can tell you emphatically most police in the city where I work, most police in the agency that I’m proud to be a part of are absolutely great cops,” he added.
About 50 students from Baltimore are attending this year’s camp.