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Camp held by police focuses on preventing gangs, decision making

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Kids are learning important life lessons from Indianapolis Metropolitan police officers during an annual summer camp. The program is called Gang Resistance Education and Training or G.R.E.A.T. The weeklong summer camp started Monday morning for fourth and fifth graders. Next week, middle school-aged students will go through the program.

Police know kids with too much time on their hands can cause the juvenile crime rate to jump in the summer. This camp gives them a safe place to go while they learn how to make good decisions. Sgt. Ida Williams said the department needs to target kids at a young age because many are being exposed to the criminal lifestyle early on.

“Hopefully this will be a change factor, a change agent for a lot of them and hopefully we can get them on the right path from some of the things they may or may not have seen in their life already,” Williams said.

The kids started Monday with a lesson on anger management and how to prevent violence. They will also have the chance to do team building activities and community service projects.

“I told them that this morning, a lot of kids are going to make different choices this summer. Some kids are maybe going to stay home and veg out in front of the TV, some are going to go out and some are going to get into trouble,” said Commander Randal Taylor with IMPD Community Affairs.

Police officers also teach the G.R.E.A.T. program at elementary and middle schools. More information is available on the IMPD website.