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Students will have the opportunity to learn leadership skills, health and fitness training and art techniques during the York City School District Police Department’s SAFE Camp program in July.

In the past, the 15-day camp has included more fitness activities for students, including Bearcat Boxing and Bearcat Bootcamp.

This year, district police Chief Michael Muldrow said, the department wanted to incorporate a more holistic experience, including community engagement and mentoring.

'Audacious Undertaking': “We’ve decided to take the things that we’ve always done and mix it all together,” he said. “Admittedly, it’s a pretty audacious undertaking.”

The camp, which begins July 10, will start students off in fitness activities — including learning formation, jogging and training exercises — but the focus will change every day.

On day two, for example, students will get a crash course on hair-cutting from local beauty and barber schools, and by day three, students will learn about animals and even volunteer at the local SPCA.

Muldrow often mentioned how “awesome” every day will be for the camp.

“They’ll go from pulling weeds and picking up trash," to doing "neat things" like engaging the elderly at the pool and working with farmers, Muldrow said.

“We’re getting really pumped,” the chief said.

Positive peer pressure: The camp’s pre-teen target age of 9-12 will be guided in part by several youth counselors, according to Muldrow, many of whom attend William Penn Senior High School.

“Peer pressure sometimes gets a negative rap,” he said, adding that he believes the counselors are needed because of their considerable influence on the younger students.

“We noticed that those little kids listen to the high school kids more than any adult,” Muldrow said.

Other events: Several speakers are lined up, including employees from WellSpan and Magisterial District Judge James Morgan.

There also will be a trip to Towson University in Maryland, where students will be given an “unabridged” tour as part of the camp’s college and career engagement day.

Muldrow said he wanted to find a way to keep students engaged over the summer in a way the district hadn’t done before, so he spoke with parents and students to see what was needed.

He cited “their lack of things to do” over the summer, as well as “a lack of healthy, structured programming” to keep students engaged and out of trouble.

Muldrow added he believes the camp will allow many city students to reach their full potential.

“We want to show how awesome York City kids can be because sometimes they get a bad rap,” he said.

The camp will close out with a visit to Sandy Point Beach in Annapolis, Maryland. Muldrow said several students have never been to a beach, and it will serve as a learning experience for all.

The SAFE Camp stands for Safety, Accountability, Fitness and Etiquette, and Muldrow plans to start the ball rolling for students.

“We’re sowing into young people what it will take to be seen in their community to inspire excellence,” he said. “We are truly looking to inspire the next generation of leaders.”

To sign up: Visit the York City School District website at http://www.ycs.k12.pa.us/. Sign-ups are nearing capacity, according to Muldrow.

Ages: 9-12 

When: July 11-28 (Monday - Friday)

Where: Hannah Penn K-8 School

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