CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A summer camp that aims to help "at risk kids" in Charleston kicked off Monday.
Camp Hope is an outreach program put on by the Charleston Police Department, YMCA and other agencies.
Since 2007 it's expanded to four locations, with several kids returning each year to take part.
Monday kids at the West Ashley High School branch shared some of their dream and goals of the future.
Graduating high school, getting scholarships, joining the military, and owning a business among the list of goals for the kids.
It's part of the mission for Camp Hope by keeping the youth on the right track to reaching their goals.
"It's not where you start, but how you finish,” Officer Kinta Palmer, of the Charleston Police Department, said. “It doesn't matter if you're from a low income area, it doesn't matter if you have a lot of money. Everybody has their fair chance. Anybody can be what they want to be when they grow up."
Charleston Police say these kids range from six to 15 years old, a time that Charleston police consider to be the impressionable phase.
It's why they try to make the camp as fun as possible.
"Last year it was really fun so I thought I'd give it another try," Malachi Mack, who attended last year, said.
"It's very fun, interesting, and enjoyable.” Jakerrion Campbell, also in his second year, said. “We get to explore the world, go horseback riding and all of that. And the officers are like family to me."
It's the officer involvement that also makes the camp unique.
It allows the kids to get to know the officers behind the uniform.
"A lot of times officers get bad wraps,” Officer Andrew Gallo, with the Charleston Police Department, said. “But if there is something bad going down, we're the first ones that are going to step up and help."
"We teach them that we make mistakes, we mentor, foster them, and want them to succeed,” Palmer added. “At the end
of the day we don't wake up in the morning thinking about making an arrest today. We don't teach that here. We love them all, no matter the color of their skin."
All the day camps are filled up at West Ashley High School, Haut Gap Middle
School and James Simons Elementary School, but there's still limited space at Sanders-Clyde Elementary.
That free camp runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Fridays for kids ages six through twelve. Contact Sharon Robinson at (843) 720-2401 for details.
Sanders-Clyde runs through August 4.