Building positive relationships with youth

Reported by: Robert Byers
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Updated: 7/18/2013 12:11 pm
TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - This is the first summer for the Tupelo Police Athletic League in its new building that's located behind the Link Centre on West Main Street in Tupelo.

Here at camp this week a range of age groups take part in basketball games and also learn some basic boxing moves.

The young people say they're here to have some fun.

Landen Hood said, "I get to learn and get to be a boxer."

Jwon Smith said, "Just competing and playing basketball is fun. I love the game."

Beyond the game officers with the league say these free camps accomplish much more.

They say it's also about building positive relationships between officers and the young people.

That's a main goal of the league itself.

Tupelo Police Officer Lance Hood said, "We're basically trying to build a good communication with the kids. We're getting them off the street and in here to give them something to do during the summer."

Along with basketball and boxing camps the league has also held other sports camps this summer.

Campers say after this week they see officers and the other adults here in a different light.

Jwon Smith said, "I always see them in uniform. Here they look and act different."

Officers say they hope the young people realize they're always there to offer help and protection.

With programs like this, officers say, it also provides a safe, positive place for young people to go.
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