The 121 Precinct Summer Camp
The 121 Precinct Summer Camp in Staten Island held its graduation on August 27th, 2017. Students who attended the camp were honored with certificates and given incredible speeches by various NYPD personnel and Staten Island community leaders. Speakers reminded the campers that if they continue on their foundations of hard work and dedication to being valuable members of their community, they would make the world a better place.
The 121 Precinct Summer Camp is a free summer camp for youth between the ages of 10 and 16. Its primary focus is to encourage kids to understand the jobs of the police officers in their communities as well as to educate them on how to be positive members of society. The 6-week camp was established last year and it has doubled its amount of participates from 50 to 100 since then.
Campers learned drill routines, played sports, and participated in games all instructed by police officers in the community. They also learned about drug awareness and citizen responsibility. “We learned how to make important decisions, cooperate, and inspire,” said camp graduate Christopher Galindo.
Before the end of the program, the campers had a carnival day at Port Richmond High School. The event featured a bouncy house, water dunk, and a live DJ. Staten Island Assistant Chief Delatorre also met with the kids and practiced a drill routine.
The graduation took place at Port Richmond High School where Principal Oneatha Swinton, gave an inspiring speech to the graduates. “Looking at your faces, all I see is promise, future, and success,” she expressed. Chief Delatorre addressed the students saying, “I hope after the 5 to 6 weeks of this camp these kids go home with more self-esteem and understanding.” He also emphasized the importance of having police officers having positive interactions with young people in the community. “That’s the point of this camp, building relationships,” the Chief said, later performing a drill routine with the kids.
The ceremony concluded with Chief Delatorre swearing in the students and telling them, “The school is now your home. The school safety agents are now your family, and the 121 Precinct is also your other home.” The kids were ecstatic to have completed the program, proudly showing their families their graduation certificates. Programs like this summer camp are essential in giving students opportunities to achieve great things and to build positive relationships with the NYPD.
Youth Police Academy Graduation
The Barclays Center in Brooklyn was packed near capacity due to the graduation of 2,000 students from the Youth Police Academy. The Youth Police Academy is a summer program for students between the ages of 10 and 16. It was formed in order to allow kids to train with police officers and, in turn, form progressive relationships with the officers in their community.
Police Commissioner James O’Neil gave an emotional speech, offering tribute to fallen officers Sergeant Paul Tuozzolo, Detective Steven McDonald, and Detective Miosotis Familia. The commissioner also expressed how proud he was of the graduates by saying, “You certainly have bright futures ahead of you.” Youth Police Academy essay winner also gave her remarks and stated, “This camp has helped me grow as a person as well as create a bond with officers.”
The ceremony was jam packed with entertaining performances by students and officers alike. Officer Charles Mack performed the song A Hero Lies In You with the help of the graduates. The song was dedicated to the fallen NYPD officers. Students from Junior High 231, winners of the Youth Police Academy drill exercise contest, performed as well as students from Manhattan North George Washington High.
Students left the arena that afternoon with a newfound sense of pride and accomplishment. Though the summer program has ended, the values and lessons they learned at the Youth Police Academy will last them a lifetime.