ST. CLOUD -- For the past week members of the St. Cloud Police Department have taken twenty youth from the St. Cloud area to Camp Ripley and put them through the St. Cloud Youth Leadership Academy (SCYLA).

St. Cloud Police Chief William Anderson says the academy is designed to shape youth into "future members of the community that we all can be proud of."

Chief Anderson says "we all know kids are going bad at a younger and younger age, and this is our attempt at crime prevention."

Over the course of the week, these individuals learned what it meant to work as a team, form a bond, and know that there are people out there that want them to succeed in life.

"We all had folks that looked after us when we were coming up," says Chief Anderson. "This is us paying back or paying forward to those that helped us."

Upon their completion of the week long academy, the members of SCYLA received a certificate of completion during a ceremony held for their family and friends.

"You get a piece of clay on Sunday, and you come back with a piece of art a week later," says Chief Anderson.

This year is the first time SCYLA has been used in the St. Cloud area, and Chief Anderson says as long as he is here, he plans to continue the program for years to come.

SCYLA member line up for their picture. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)