Getting Kids Outside
In July, Governor Cuomo announced the opening of Camp Junior, a summer camp for youth from targeted neighborhoods in the Bronx. The camp is named in honor of Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz, a 15-year old who was killed by Bronx gang members in a case of mistaken identity in 2018.
Camp Junior revitalized a deteriorated youth camp within the 47,500-acre Harriman State park located just 30 minutes from the Bronx. The rehabilitation of the land was made possible by partnerships with the Fresh Air Fund, Bronx leaders, and State Parks investing $2 million.
The camp hosted 500 youth this summer between the ages of 9-13 who learned anti-violence lessons aimed at offering them alternatives to joining gangs, in addition to exploring and enjoying the great outdoors. Campers were chosen by the Fresh Air Fund from Bronx neighborhoods that are at high risk of gang violence. Camp Junior is over for the season but, leaders are hoping to boost the 2020 enrollment to 1,000 campers.
This project is part of the Governor’s 2019 Justice Agenda, which calls for expanding youth connections with State Parks, outdoor recreation and conservation to promote pro-social behavior and reduce conflict and violence.
To learn more about the Fresh Air Fund and Camp Junior, click here.
Photo credit: New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation