In a city with a high crime and poverty rate, distrust of authorities, specifically police officers is not uncommon. In an effort to offset that distrust and build a lasting relationship with the communities the Camden County Police Dept. has joined the Village Initiative, a collection of local community leaders and advisors in order to facilitate, “Open Gym”. Every Friday from 6:00 - 9:00 PM, located at 600 Erie St., community members are invited to join in on a host of activities and connect like enjoying basketball in a climate controlled gym or being able to join in a game of uno, the gym provides a safe space for children and teens to congregate and also familiarize themselves with local law enforcement who often join in on the activities and games made available to the community.
The “Open Gym” also doubles as a resource center. Teens and parents alike are connected to local community resources including those relay information about employment and mentoring opportunities. Attendees are also provided with refreshments. Happening every Friday, the “Open Gym” accepts community volunteers and emphasizes community-police relations. For more information contact Captain Vivian Coley at (609) 932-8991. Inquiries about opportunities to volunteer can also be sent to Coley170@camdencountypd.org.