Thirty-two learners from Ocean View High School attended a Metro Police Department skills empowerment and crime prevention youth camp on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 September.The group was joined on Friday 31 August by Mayco member for safety, security and social services, JP Smith. “Many of the young people come from very challenging situations where their daily struggles don’t allow them to see beyond their circumstances. These camps don’t only provide a break from their daily grind, but also challenge them to look to the future and think differently about their relationships and interactions with law enforcement,” he says.For some, the camp has been a life-changing experience as they walked in as troubled individuals and left with positive attitudes. Others have become leaders in the City’s youth cadet programme and Smith is immensely proud of them, but also of the dedicated staff who make these camps happen.The youth camp programme was first introduced in 2013 as part of the department’s social crime prevention interventions. The department develops and funds the programme, and the Western Cape Education Department identifies participating schools.The camps are also a recruitment tool for the department’s youth cadets. Learners who show the most improvement in behaviour and discipline after attending are selected to register as youth cadets. Activities included a team challenge to encourage team spirit and teamwork. Sessions on personal development and leadership were also held. “The different sessions and presentations aim to empower the learners with skills to help them change certain behaviours and attitudes, and to be inspired to reach for their dreams,” says Smith.