Local leaders, Fresh Air Fund create ‘Camp Junior’ for young Bronx residents

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BELMONT -

A sleep-away summer camp is looking for campers, and it's free for young Bronx residents.

Local leaders and the Fresh Air Fund teamed up to create Camp Junior, in honor of Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, who was killed in Belmont last year.

"This is an opportunity for kids to try new things to be a part of something fun. Exposing them to meeting new friends," says Fatima Shama, executive director of the Fresh Air Fund.

The free camp at Harriman State Park is two weeks long.

Organizers say around 60 staffers will be on hand, helping kids ages nine to 13.

They say it is a chance for kids to make friends and try something new and exciting. 

"They're going to go swimming; they are going to go bowling, hiking; they're going to learn what it's like to learn in nature," says Ricky Cruz, director of Camp Junior.

Junior, the camps namesake, was part of the NYPD Explorers Program and was killed when he was caught up in a brutal gang violence attack.

Administrators say children at the camp will get a glimpse of life outside the city, a break from the busy day to day in the borough and exposure to mentors whose influence can last a lifetime. 

Organizers say counselors will also teach campers how to manage emotions and make good life decisions.

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