The coined phrase, "it takes a village to raise a child," is ever present and necessary in today's society. It isn't difficult for children to stray from the path leading to a successful adult future. Often times, children who have entered the juvenile justice system have difficulty veering back onto the straightened path; especially without support of a positive adult role model. One study shows that early intervention programs sustained through long term mentoring has a positive return of investment when you are just beginning to have difficulties, (Social Return on Investment of Youth Intervention Program Wilder Research, March 2007) and the St. Cloud Police Department has made a commitment toward that very thing.
SCYLA aims to mentor youth who may have had involvement or risk of involvement with the juvenile justice system, members of underserved communities, and youth in need of self-confidence. SCYLA focuses on three core areas of instruction and activities; Respect, Responsibility and Trust. With an additional focus to serve, foster, and develop confidence and leadership skills, SYCLA targets St. Cloud area youth between the ages of 13-16 who either live in the City of St. Cloud or attend St. Cloud School District 742.
SCYLA has been in existence since 2013 for St. Cloud area male youth. In 2017 SCYLA expanded it's focus, hosting twelve young women; ages 13-16. Camp consisted of a one week residential program during which the campers participated in classroom presentations and outdoor activities focusing on the core values of Respect, Responsibility, and Trust. Areas covered were basic etiquette, dressing for success, social networking safety, healthy relationships, domestic violence, an overview of the Criminal Justice System, along with zip lining, a high ropes course, canoeing and Minute to Win It relays. The week concludes with a "family dinner," followed by a formal graduation ceremony held at the St. Cloud Police Department.
We would like to thank Elizer Darris at the Darris Group for providing the graduation clothing for the 2021 Boys SCYLA program. We are so thankful for this generous contribution.
The St. Cloud Police Department prides itself with SCYLA's expansion to more than just a one week camp. Relationships built during camp are maintained through continued mentorship during both planned and unplanned contact with SCYLA members. Past examples of organized mentoring have taken place while assisting during a Pack the Mac Event, St. Cloud Technical and Community College Culinary Training experience, Halloween pumpkin carving, Salvation Army Christmas Toy Shop, and the Federation of the Blind/Zonta-St. Cloud spaghetti dinner. SCYLA mentors are always in search of a variety of positive community social experiences its members can partake in as well as informational opportunities for career exploration.