A simple game of one-on-one at the YMCA of Saginaw illustrates some core values Pastor Larry Camel wants to instill in local youth â?? caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. Teaching values, he says, is the community's best defense against violence that's affecting more young people every day.
â??I think it would build some great character in our young people and they're more likely to be more proactive than reactive to things going on in the community,â?? Camel explained.
He says kids are no stranger to the reality on the streets.
â??Stay home, you have to be with drugs and stuff and fighting, like a lot of shooting going on in the streets,â?? said Ivy Franklin, an 11-year-old who says she spends several days of the week at the Y.
Too often, Camel says, boys and girls have nowhere to go and nothing to do after school, and sometimes that idleness can be detrimental.
â??We're allowing each other to shoot, fight, bully one another when we should be helping one another."
On Friday, Camel and Parishioners on Patrol invited boys and girls from across the city to spend the night at the YMCA. They'll have the run of the place from the pool to the teen lounge. Speakers will encourage them to confront violence and become agents of positive change. Camel is calling it a Community Unity Partnership. Parents say it's an extension of home values.
â??It's very important, training begins at home,â?? said Deneice Lane, who registered her daughter for Friday nightâ??s lock-in. Home is the community, where Camel hopes one night of fun can help set the next generation on the right track.