LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Cabbage Patch is offering weekly camps to provide options for parents looking to keep their kids occupied and safe over the summer.

A nonprofit organization in Old Louisville,the Cabbage Patch has offered after-school programs for at-risk children and their families for more than 100 years. During the summer, the group provides weekly themed camps to help battle the so-called summer brain drain. They offer fun activities and lessons connected to science, technology, engineering, art and math.

“It gives them an opportunity to still engage in school without actually being there. It's more interactive,” said Brandi Giles, the educational opportunities manager at the Cabbage Patch.

As many Louisville neighborhoods are battling high crime rates and more gunfire, parents are searching for safer alternatives for their children, especially with public pools closed for the summer.

“We feel like out-of-school time centers are especially important for getting kids off the street and any place where danger can happen,” Giles said.

The kids are also absorbing life skills, often disguised in fun activities. This week, more than a dozen boys between the ages of 8 and 12 are taking part in the Measure of a Man Camp.

“We are teaching some different manly skills and skills that young boys should know that they may not get other place," said Ryan Lovelace, the recreation and youth development manager at the Cabbage Patch. "We’ve taught everyone how to tie a tie. We’re learning how to change a tire. We went to the creek and learned how to do some fishing.”

On Wednesday morning, they learned how to build a fire and make s’mores. After wiping melted marshmallow from his face, Major Williams, 12, said he loves coming to the Cabbage Patch to be with his friends every day.

“We’re learning the definition of what being a man is,” Major said. “A man is being respectful, competitive, responsibility."

Part of each lesson plan is to foster a safe, respectful environment that kids will take with them wherever they go.

“We’ve talked a lot about respect and manners,” Lovelace said. “And we’ve talked about we don’t use the words ‘shut up.’ Respecting others and respecting other people, that’s something that as 8- and 9-year-olds they need to know.”

When they’re not doing camp activities, Major said he likes to play basketball at the Cabbage Patch because he wants to be a professional basketball player when he grows up. He said more parents should send their kids to the camps and after school programs.

“Because it’s a good opportunity for your kids to get anywhere in life,” he said.

The camps run through Aug. 2. To have your children participate in any of the upcoming camps, they must first be a Cabbage Patch member. Membership is free. Participation in the weekly camps cost a flat fee, but the evening programs after cam are free.

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