ST. CLOUD -- It was a week full of laughter, development and mentorship. And today 20 young men graduated from the fourth annual St. Cloud Youth Leadership Academy(SCYLA).

Rebecca David, WJON

As their families sat in the crowd and watched their young men. Smiles and laughter were all on their faces,but for one mother tears of happiness were how proud she felt of her son.

Shannon Webb and her two sons Elijah and Isaiah Misquadace, first got involved with SCYLA at a time where they needed someone after the boys lost their father.

"I know my sons went through a hard time. If it wasn't for St. Cloud PD I don't know where we would be. I really don't know says Webb.

Webb first singed up her son Isaiah and today she watched her younger son Elijah graduate for the second time from the program.

He wanted to come back for the second year says Webb, he just couldn't wait.

SCYLA is a program that Chief Blair Anderson incorporated to help police officers mentor youth.The program takes kids age 13-16 years-old for a week to camp Ripley and teaches them the three pillars of the program: Respect, Responsibility and Trust.

"I think any of us can remember our teenage years and moving into young adolescents. It's a tough time for a lot of reasons and, so you can never have too many people looking out for you says Anderson.

It's the values like respect, responsibility, and trust that the program instills in the men that makes Webb proud of her son.

"It's a difference from day to night even when he first did the program . They come back more respectfully and following rules. I'm just so proud of him I couldn't ask for anything more says Webb.

It's the affect that it has on families like Shannon and her boys that keeps the department from continuing the program.

I always had someone looking out for me says chief Anderson so part of this is me paying it forward.

"I highly recommend it for anybody else of the age 13 and up. It's an extremely amazing program" says Elijah.

The program works with the school district and school resource officers to select students. If you want more information get in contact with your district.

To see photos of the events the boys did at camp Ripley visit SCYLA's Facebook page.

Rebecca David, WJON