Learning a new way to defuse youth violence in Michigan's cities
Two dozen Flint teenagers will be in Lansing this week learning leadership skills.
The Michigan State Police ‘Youth Leadership Academy’ has been taking place since 2005.
About 700 teenage boys and girls have gone through the program. The 14 to 16 year olds learn about first aid, ethics, water safety and character building.
Scott Nichols, a former state trooper, is one of the organizers. He says the program provides something special for the Flint teens.
“We’re trying to take some of the youth programming that has been lacking in the city of Flint…just through budget cuts…and helping to prop that up a little bit,” says Nichols.
Nichols expects many of the Flint teens taking part in the week-long academy will be meeting each other for the first time. He says that by itself may help ease Flint’s violent crime problem.
“We’ve seen a lot of the murders…and shootings…not just in Flint, but other places too,” says Nichols, “(are a result) of a lack of being able to resolve conflicts.”
Nichols says the state police are running similar leadership academies this summer for teenage boys and girls from Lansing and Detroit.