Local organization combats gun violence through youth camping trip

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Augusta, GA (WJBF)- One local organization is working to bridge the gap between law enforcement and young people in the CSRA.

Around 30 kids showed up Saturday afternoon ranging from ages 1 to 18 to get to know some of the people that protect our community. The National Action Network of the CSRA hosted the overnight event. It’s the group’s latest effort to combat gun violence among young people.

“It’s pointless to fighting now, because it’s either a life or death situation,” said Jadin West.

Those words coming from 18-year-old Jadin West. He’s preparing for his first year of college and knows first hand the outcome of gun violence after losing a family member.

“Back in the day, when my parents were growing up, when you beef with somebody, you know you fight it out, you make up, you back cool. Now today in this world and generation, you fight and it’s about guns,” said West.

Now preparing for his first year of college, he’s learning how to resolve issues without a weapon and with the help of NAN of the CSRA.

“We understand that you can disagree and that’s okay, but you must not, you must not get a weapon,” said Beulaah Nash-Teachui, President of the National Action Network of the C.S.R.A.

The event included swimming, fishing, and camping. NAN’s vice president, Morris Porter says activities like this teach them life skills.

“There’s been a recent rise in gun violence and we know that a lot of the gun violence is happening due to some bad decision making and teaching them life skills will help them make better life decisions,” said Porter.

Organizers also introduced the kids to law enforcement.

“We’re showing them that the police are not the big bad guys. They are actually the good guys and they’re being able to interact with them as human,” said Porter.

Porter adds there’s a stigma that surrounds men and women in blue.

“We’re showing them that we’re their friends, we’re here for them, we want them to be safe in the community.”

But today wasn’t just all work. They received some appreciation too.

“I believe we have three graduates this year and any accomplishment with youth in area in Augusta particular that made it through the pandemic and graduated from high school and about to enter in college, it’s a good day to be out here with them and congratulate and have some fun,” said Francine Scott, Augusta Commissioner.

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