Police keep a watchful eye on Charleston kids at night

By Valencia

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV){}-- While some kids spend their summer nights hanging out unsupervised, the Charleston Police department offers a safe alternative{}called Camp Hope.

Camp Hope is a free night camp for kids age 6-15.

"During those hours are the hours that kids find things to get into because there's no supervision sometimes, because mom and dad work second jobs. So, Camp Hope keeps them busy from 6 to 9," said Sharon Robinson, program director.

Each night the kids learn character building, safety, arts and crafts, even puppetry arts.

"It's a fun place to be, like a fun camp," said Sterlynn Ward, a 4th grader at Harbor View Elementary. {}

Camp Hope has such a good reputation, 12-year old Karon Brown asked his family if he{}could attend the camp.

"I don't really have anything to do and if there's nothing to do at night, I might do something bad. I want to make sure that I stay off the streets and not doing anything that I'm not supposed to do," said Brown.

Camp Hope has been keeping kids safe at night for five years.

"I would say it's very needed in the community, especially where you have project housing and young children that actually need something to do," said Robinson. "There's often several day camps but an evening camp you seldom find."

Without Camp Hope, Robinson says, the children could be in a world of trouble.

"You know, our community today, there's gun violence, there's drugs and everything, but if we keep them off the street and keep them busy and give them something positive to do, that would help build them and the community."

Through Camp Hope the children learn personal and social responsibility, respect for their schools, their homes, community and one another.

"The counselors here are friendly and they don't give you a bad upbringing. They show you somebody nice and that adults can be nice people and that they can be trusted," said Brown.

The camp is held every night at the Shaw Community Center.