Raleigh Police Department taking applications for free summer camps

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Raleigh Police Department hosts several summer camps and year-round opportunities for Raleigh's youth through the Youth & Family Services program. The programs include a baseball league, soccer, a girls basketball camp, a junior police academy as well as leadership camps.

"Our coaches are police officers and also some of our community members volunteer to be coaches as well," explained Sgt. Renae Lockhart, who runs Youth & Family Services. "We want to make sure that we're having positive connections with youth in our community. That way to get to see a different side of law enforcement officers, a different side of police officers, they realize that we're human beings."

The programs are open to Raleigh residents and include ages 10 to 17. The Explorers program is for residents between the ages of 14-20.

There is an application process that includes the youth and the parent or guardian.

"So, they fill out an application and then the officer that coordinates that program will actually reach out to them and ask additional questions, because we want to kind of get a glimpse behind the curtain and find out exactly who will be in our programs and who's in the most need of maybe that one on one contact with a police officer," Lockhart said.

Most of the camps run a week or two with a 20-participant maximum for the one-on-one interaction with the officers.

"Another thing about our programs is that our connections don't stop just because the summer ends," Lockhart said. "So, our youth that are in the summer camps, we actually do reunions and things like that throughout the year, and get kids back together. It starts the relationship. So, it's more than just the camp."

The baseball league is holding a draft day Saturday, April 13 from noon until 2 p.m. at Sanderford Road Community Center, and walkups are welcome to register.
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