WILLARD, Mo. – Camp Character, a program run by Willard Police, received a $5,000 donation from Spire Energy to keep shaping kids’ lives.

“The purpose behind camp character is to strengthen youth in our four core areas,” Police Chief Tom McClain said. “We believe that if a kid understands the importance of being responsible, being honorable, having self-control and being discerning in terms of your assessment of why things are falling, then that kid is most likely to realize his full potential or hers.”

Camp Character typically runs four hours in the Spring and Fall on Saturdays. The goal is to help kids build their character while getting to know law enforcement better.

“On the law enforcement side of things, we tend not to be the most popular group in the hearts and minds of young people,” McClain said. “When we take the time to participate in activities with kids, demonstrate that we care about them, do our best to help them along the path they tend they tend to develop a level of appreciation that would be higher than the norm if they if they weren’t participating in these kind of activities.”

Kids participate in several activities like ziplining, hiking, and fishing. There are also volunteers and mentors that help with camp.

“I just love participating in it because I get to work with younger kids, you know, I get to try to be that role model that can help shape their life,” Laken Cookson said. “You come out here, you know, they can have a lot of fun and learn new things and then also be taught and poured into by amazing teachers that just really give everything and don’t hold anything back.”

Spire energy helped with splitting wood, clearing brush, and cleared a new trail Thursday afternoon.