Young people learn life lessons at Boys to Men/Girls to Pearls summer camp

The DeKalb Sheriff’s Office organizes the camp aimed at protecting teens from violence
Young people learn life lessons at Boys to Men/Girls to Pearls summer camp
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 8:11 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2023 at 8:21 AM EDT
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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - A summer camp in DeKalb County is protecting kids from violence and offering life lessons many adults may take for granted.

The free Boys-to-Men/Girls-to-Pearls summer camp at the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office is happening all month long.

This week, campers had the opportunity to learn life lessons over a game of chess with world-class chess expert Orrin Hudson. Hudson is a former gang member who says he was headed down a path of violence. But a teacher introduced him to chess, which he says taught him how to problem solve using his brain, not fists.

Today, he travels the world paying it forward in hopes of saving young lives.

“Stop the violence. Brains before bullets. Think it out. Don’t shoot it out. The only way to fight this is to use your head,” said Orrin Hudson.

Hudson, who is the founder and CEO of Be Someone Inc., a Stone Mountain-based nonprofit, told the kids not to do the first thing that pops into their heads. He calls it a trap.

“I tell young people to pause, ponder, to pray. The first thing that pops in your head will take you out every time,” he said.

Camper Denzel Amirsapp, a 15-year-old Decatur High School student, plays chess with his friends and online. He was excited to get the opportunity to challenge one of his chess heroes.

“How my mom would be so proud of me. I’m honestly just so lucky to be able to get a chance to play against the world chess master,” he said.

Campers will also learn how to tie a perfect knot for a necktie and dinner etiquette as well. The Ludacris Foundation is also involved in providing guidance on health and physical fitness.

The event, which started out as a week-long camp three years ago, was extended this year to a full month. DeKalb County youth ages 9 through 16 are eligible.