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After a successful summer program, 81 campers graduate from Young Men Inc



Indianapolis, Indiana – The Reverend Malachi Walker places a cap on the number of young boys he can accept into his Young Men Inc. camp each year at around 70, but he will never refuse a phone call from a concerned parent or grandparent hoping to provide their child some structured development over the summer.

Walker opened the doors of his 29th annual camp to 81 boys this year. He joined the kids and their families for a banquet and awards ceremony to mark the end of this year’s camp.

”A lot of kids think they know what they’re doing and that they’re doing it right,” Malachi said. “But when an adult comes up to them and tries to correct them, tries to turn them in the right direction, sometimes they get angry. But this is the time when they learn a lot of obedience in YMI.”

The amount of former campers who return annually for an awards ceremony or volunteer to work as mentors and camp counselors is evidence of the effectiveness of YMI’s summer camp.

”When you’re teaching someone around your age, there can also be stuff that you can learn, too,” said MarQuez Woods, who attended his first YMI camp 15 years ago. ”I think respect was a big thing, especially when I just turned 22. Right when I go to work, the boss may not always say something right, but I at least have to go along with him or go until you can mention it to somebody else or talk to your boss about because it’s a respect thing. If I want to be treated right, I want the same for you and vice-versa.”

Joe Hogsett, the mayor of Indianapolis, usually attends the first day of camp. The Great Commission of God Church’s basement is where the camp’s opening day events take place. Additionally, Hogsett has a history of returning to check on the kids at the camp’s closing ceremonies.

“It offers them values and a sense of appropriateness that they may not get in other places,” Hogsett said. “So, I think they grow over the summer, not only physically, but emotionally and socially, and I think that’s a good thing for all of Indianapolis.”

The camper of the year for this summer is 13-year-old Tyrus Crossin.

”Young Men Inc. probably the best decision of my life,” Crossin said. “I’m gonna be honest, we had a very good summer this year. We got to go to Kansas City, and we got to go to Mizzou — it’s a college. I believe its Missouri University.”

Crossin, who will start eighth grade in a few weeks, is already thinking back on the things he learned during the summer.

”There was a group called Reach for Youth and they taught us how to do stuff financially,” Crossin said. “I felt like that could really help me in the long run for my life. So, all of the counselors and the alumni, I feel like they all went to college. So, if I look up to them, I can become them, and I can go to college as well as staying off the streets and getting a good education and a good job and take care of my wife and kids.”

A $12,000 gift from the Romine Children’s Fund helped YMI last year.

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