Mayor Lovely Warren, Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo, and other local elected officials, along with the Boys Scouts of America, and a broad cross-section of the Rochester business, legal and faith communities, held the second annual “Field of Dreams Urban Camp-Out” project, in which approximately 75 Boys from School No. 17 participated in an overnight camp-out hosted by the Rochester Red Wings at Frontier Field on Aug. 12.
The two principal goals of the event were as follows:
- Bridging the gap between law enforcement and city youth, to reduce violence and improve community relations; and,
- Reducing racial and ethnic conflicts among young people.
According to Rochester Latino Theater Company Executive Director Annette Ramos, the project has been designed to empower boys ages 9 to 13, by encouraging them to develop positive relationships with each other, law enforcement, and their communities.
“Well, this is our second annual field of dreams camp-out, and really it’s about building tomorrow’s student of color leaders,” Ramos stated. “And, what we do is, we really look to law enforcement, and community leaders, to work with these youth to set positive role models, and set community engagement interaction, so that their encounters with law enforcement do not always have to be a negative, but can build upon positive interactive experiences.”
During the camp-out, students engaged in community building activities, played games, worked in teams, interacted with law enforcement through theater games, and other activities, all focused on fostering conflict-resolution, and problem-solving skills.
The kids also enjoyed a Rochester Red Wings baseball game, with a 7:05 pm start, as well as pre-game activities, including a tricked-out Humvee, courtesy of the Marines; a pre-game dinner at The Roost; a post-game meet and greet with diverse members of the Rochester Red Wings baseball team; and post-game activities on the field before the students camped-out for the night.
Community building activities, games, and educational programs rounded out the experience on Saturday morning.
The young men also received baseball caps, T-shirts, and book bags containing healthy snacks, summer reading, and a one-page resource guide for food, clothing and other services from the project.
According to Ramos, the event is the first of its kind in the city, and, going forward, the project’s focus will be city school populations in need of mediation between cultural clashes, and law enforcement.
Ramos said the camp-out is the start of long-term initiative that will address long-standing challenges at the school, and help create a template for helping other students at Rochester city schools.