INDIANAPOLIS — A summer camp kicked off Tuesday in Indy with the goal of keeping kids safe from violence over the summer months.

The Young Men Inc. youth camp coincides with a deadly trend this year. A shooting in early May left three people dead here on Caroline Avenue, including a 15-year-old boy.

That violence took place less than one mile from the Great Commission Church of God, where on Tuesday morning dozens of kids began a summer camp designed to keep them out of trouble. Reverend Malachi Walker helps run the camp in addition to his duties at the church, located at 3302 N Arsenal Ave. on the city’s near northeast side.

“We’re just sick and tired of people losing lives to gun violence and a lot of innocent people are being affected,” said Reverend Walker.

Over the next 8 weeks, which started Tuesday with a pep talk from Mayor Joe Hogsett, nearly 60 kids will learn lessons about conflict resolution and gun safety from Walker and others.

“One of our main things is to talk about dangers of guns,” said Walker.

Reverend Walker has hosted the Young Men Inc. camp for nearly three decades.  The camp features organized physical and educational activities as well as recreation and field trips.

The activities are especially critical this year as numbers show while overall homicides are down this year compared to 2021, homicides involving juvenile victims have actually gone up compared to the same time over the previous four years.

Malachi’s camp is just one of many summertime programs aimed at keeping kids safe. Even on day one, many of the young campers are already learning some positive messages.

“We should try to stop violence before it happens and not get in other problems with people,” said 10-year-old camper Kayden Cobbs.

“It taught me how to not be a follower and to be a leader and help people out,” said 15-year-old camper Jayse Evans.

The Young Men Inc. summer camp runs until the end of July.