COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Keeping kids off the streets while school is out.
While school may be out for the summer, work for many parents is not - that means many teens may be home alone sitting idle this summer, leaving more room for them to get mixed up with the wrong crowd.
The Richland County Sheriff's Department has been holding summer camps for teens for almost 10 years.
"Idle hands are basically the devil's workshop," said Lt. Verlon Rhodes. "We want to have something for these kids to get them involved during the summer."
Lt. Rhodes works for the School Resource Officer Division of RCSD. He notes it's critical to make sure kids have structure over the summer.
"All of our camps, we're working on team building," Rhodes said. "Working with each and every kid. One of our camps is a character camp, which works on building individual character skills within a kid. And it helps them become productive and positive citizens throughout this country."
Kids at the Jeep Rogers YMCA in Columbia say teen camp there brings kids back year after year. It's fun, and they're learning important values in the process.
"They want us to be kind to each other and not disagree all the time, find the other person's values of what they're saying," said camper, Sarah Speed.
There are a number of teen programs available in Columbia, including:
- Jeep Rogers Family YMCA: http://columbiaymca.org/locations/jeep-rogers-family-ymca/summer-camp/
- RCSD Youth Sports Summer Camp: http://rcsd.net/summer_camp_sports_application_2017.pdf
- RCSD Leadership Camp: http://rcsd.net/summer_camp_leadership_app2017.pdf
- City of Columbia Teen Camp: For more information, please call the Katheryn M. Bellfield
- Booker Washington Heights Cultural Arts Center at 803-255-8161.
- Girls Rock Columbia: girlsrockcolumbia.org
Authorities also urge you to check with your local church or faith-based organization for programs they may offer.