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Team Illinois Youth Police Camp

Team Illinois Youth Police Camp (TIYPC) received $5000 from First Nonprofit Foundation to provide support and skills training to at-risk youth, ages 13 to 16 from low income households.

The purpose of the camp was to form long-lasting and positive relationships between local youth and law enforcement officers and teach skills to resist violence, gangs, and drugs. The ultimate goal of the program was to provide the youth with motivation to succeed and have the skills needed to join the workforce.

The camp was a highly structured week-long residency program based on the military model of discipline. This includes para-military drills, physical fitness exercises, classroom instruction on resisting societal pressures, team building principles, leadership, and other life-enhancing skills.

Some of the topics covered in training included:

  • First Aid and Health Only CPR
  • Dangers of Social Media
  • Bullying and Cyber Bullying
  • College Opportunities for Students
  • Teen Suicide Awareness
  • Teambuilding with the Illinois National Guard

The philosophy of “Teamwork, Commitment, and Pride” was introduced to cadets through activities that promote teamwork, goal setting, and esprit de corp. These important values were taught through a partnership with Illinois State Police, as well as police officers from other agencies, military personnel, and social service agencies.

Upon successful completion of the camp, cadets received recognition in a formal graduation ceremony. A total of 36 cadets graduated and provided feedback for ways to improve and grow the camp for the future.

The project is sustainable because it will continue to build partnerships with the private and corporate sectors, while strengthening the relationships already created. Any community or police organization has the power to establish a similar program for their own at-risk youth—and can use the success of TIYPC as an example for how to set up their program.