Camp helps former youth gang members

Tuesday, May 27th 2008, 5:34 pm
By: News 9

By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9

Most gang members have either grown up around gang life or joined at a young age. That's exactly what Camp Shiloh is trying to avoid and it appears to be having some success.

That success starts with a 6-week course of exercise, fishing and fellowship.

It's a faith-based operation for at-risk kids who are exposed to seedy elements of society, like drugs and gangs.

Most of the kids are not always forthcoming about their background-- at least not to the counselors.

"Sometimes they'll talk to each other and you can just overhear that they are involved in gangs," Shiloh Camp Executive Director Amanda Shaleen said.

So that's where the camp gets to work, giving them the tools to help keep them on the straight and narrow.

"We have a strong emphasis on teaching them communication skills and conflict management," Shaleen said.

Shaleen said one kid who was angry all the times, but after attending the camp over several summers, his whole personality changed.

"Last summer he stood up in front of his peers and told them about what a difference Shiloh has made," Shaleen said. "We just want to show them another way to live and other options to life."

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater is on the board of directors for this camp.

Click here to learn more about Camp Shiloh.