SAVANNAH, Ga. – Summer can be the ideal time to try a new skill or partake in self-discovery.
For 51 Savannah boys, Summer 2017 will certainly be one to remember. They made up the first class for the Isolation for Renovation camp.
The camp was hosted by Helping Hands of Savannah in Society Hill, South Carolina and every camper attended for free thanks to local sponsorships and donations.
This four-day experience allowed young men to disconnect from technology while learning about cooking, yoga, college and job preparations, gun safety, sex education, and role-play with campers and officers in how to behave during a traffic stop.
The group also learned through sessions and daily encounters how to hand conflict resolution.
“At the end of the fight y’all are still gonna be here alive,” camper Iverson Thompson,14, said. “Y’all still gonna be able to walk away from the situation and still go on with life. But if you shoot somebody, that’s a whole life that’s gone.”
Campers also told WSAV about the importance of ‘snitching’ even if that could cast a negative social shadow on them with friends or at school, especially when it comes to someone becoming a victim of violence.
“The person who getting bullied could possibly be in the middle of possibly committing suicide, ” Thompson said. “You telling could possible save them and I’ve witnesses that before.”
Campers also worked with 18 mentors and staff. One mentor is Assistant District Attorney Andrew Pretorious who says he gained a new-found respect for young men in Savannah after developing relationships and talking with them about their personal experiences.
“You kinda get that perspective because you don’t get to see that while you’re prosecuting people or working the court system what led up to those behaviors,” Pretorious said.
Pretorious said he plans on returning to camp next year.
Now that everyone is home, HHoS is planning a year-long mentoring program to follow-up with the campers on the lessons learned during their time at camp.