HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - It's been a summer of fun and games at the Police Athletic League summer camp in Hattiesburg.
PAL is a crime prevention program that incorporates games, fun, as well as life lessons for at risk kids from ages 8 to 13.
"These are not troubled kids, this is just the target age range where kids can be vulnerable to taking the wrong path, and we are here to help point them in the right direction," said Hattiesburg Police Lt. Allen Murray.
For eight weeks campers play a variety of sports, including basketball, baseball and football along with playing games, arts and crafts and swimming.
"There is the potential to fall into the wrong path and what we are trying to do is to make sure we keep them out of the back seat of the police cars," said Murray. "Mentor them in a positive way and let them know that we are not just robots out there doing a job to take someone to jail, let them know we are people to and just give them ropes to do things the right way."
The camp isn't just about playing games, the officers also teach kids life skills they can use as they get older as well as being a mentor when the opportunity presents itself.
"The kids love hearing our war stories as officers, as well as knowing they can count on us, not just to view us as a police officer but as a friend as well," said Murray.
This year's camp has 90 students that will participate in the eight week program that ends in July.