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Cincinnati police bring back summer camp to encourage, inspire youth

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 10:37 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The Cincinnati Police Department’s Youth Services Unit has revived a popular summer camp for kids ages 10-12, and Friday night they had their first sleepover!

Formerly called CITI Camp, the program has been renamed Kim Williams CITI Camp in honor of a CPD Captain who died from breast cancer.

The program is designed to encourage, inspire, motivate and challenge the youth to excel.

CPD Officer Eddie Hawkins is the department’s Youth Programs Coordinator, a role he doesn’t take lightly.

“Everything we do is channeled around them learning what it is to be a young person, what it is to make good, sound decisions and how to solve your conflict,” Hawkins said.

Fifty kids are participating in the eight-week program, and 40 CPD cadets are involved as well. The sleepover comes as they’re about halfway through.

Parents will come out Saturday for a four-hour team-building exercise.

“A lot of people say, ‘It’s an eight-week program, you can’t change a child in eight weeks.’ You’re absolutely right,” Hawkins said. “The promise we’ve made to all of our programs is, once you’ve joined our program, you’re now part of us. We’re going to follow you and your young person until graduation, college and beyond.”

19-year-old Donneshia Lowe, a cadet who plans on becoming a homicide detective, says she’s glad to be involved.

“Mentoring CITI camp kids... I remember when I was that age, and it’s like, they have to talk to somebody. I say, ‘Whatever you want to talk about, I am there for you. You can talk to me about anything,’ and I try my best to help whatever it is,” she said.

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