JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – Lowcountry children can get to know local law enforcement through a program called Camp Hope.

Each summer, the Charleston Police Department hosts a seven-week program for middle school-aged kids in the community.

The campers have a jam-packed schedule, five days a week, full of activities ranging from board games and kayaking to visits to local water parks. On Wednesday, the kids participated in a cooking class at St. John’s High School.

With every activity comes a stronger bond between the officers and the kids.

“I feel safe when I’m around them because they’re protecting me,” said 12-year-old Lanaysia Ford.

Adam Deming is a school resource officer at St. John’s High School. Through Camp Hope, he has the opportunity to connect with students who will one day walk the same halls he patrols.

“This is a positive time and a positive interaction. These kids are not listening to everything that they see and hear about on social media. They’re able to see us as who we are just, a human being,” said Deming.

In addition to building positive relationships with local police, the kids also get to learn more about law enforcement in general.

“It’s pretty fun, we get to learn stuff about the different departments and stuff that normal people wouldn’t know,” said 13-year-old Hayden Groeschel.

Kids and officers are creating memories and building meaningful relationships.

“I’ll be a little upset when the camp ends because I really enjoy it here,” said Mason Brown who is 13 years old.  

The department hosts the camp at multiple locations throughout the city. The program will wrap up at the end of July.