INDIANAPOLIS — Every year, the Reverend Malachi Walker sets a limit of about 70 young boys he can welcome into his Young Men Inc. camp — though he can never turn down a phone call from a parent or grandparent anxious to find their child some structured development over the summer school break.

This year, Walker welcomed 81 boys into his 29th annual camp. He celebrated the conclusion of this year’s camp at a banquet and awards ceremony with the youngsters and their families.

”A lot of kids think they know what they’re doing and that they’re doing it right,” Malachi said. “But when an adult comes up to them and tries to correct them, tries to turn them in the right direction, sometimes they get angry. But this is the time when they learn a lot of obedience in YMI.”

The success of YMI’s summer camp is proven in the number of alumni who return every year for an awards ceremony or volunteer to serve as camp counselors and mentors.

”When you’re teaching someone around your age, there can also be stuff that you can learn, too,” said MarQuez Woods, who attended his first YMI camp 15 years ago. ”I think respect was a big thing, especially when I just turned 22. Right when I go to work, the boss may not always say something right, but I at least have to go along with him or go until you can mention it to somebody else or talk to your boss about because it’s a respect thing. If I want to be treated right, I want the same for you and vice-versa.”

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett is traditionally on hand during the opening day of camp. The camp’s opening day festivities are held in the basement of Great Commission of God Church. Hogsett has also been known to check back in on the youngsters during the camp’s closing ceremonies.

“It offers them values and a sense of appropriateness that they may not get in other places,” Hogsett said. “So, I think they grow over the summer, not only physically, but emotionally and socially, and I think that’s a good thing for all of Indianapolis.”

Tyrus Crossin, who is 13 years old, is this summer’s Camper of the Year.

”Young Men Inc. probably the best decision of my life,” Crossin said. “I’m gonna be honest, we had a very good summer this year. We got to go to Kansas City, and we got to go to Mizzou — it’s a college. I believe its Missouri University.”

Crossin is set to enter eighth grade in the coming weeks and is already reflecting on the lessons he learned this past summer.

”There was a group called Reach for Youth and they taught us how to do stuff financially,” Crossin said. “I felt like that could really help me in the long run for my life. So, all of the counselors and the alumni, I feel like they all went to college. So, if I look up to them, I can become them, and I can go to college as well as staying off the streets and getting a good education and a good job and take care of my wife and kids.”

YMI was supported this past year by a $12,000 grant from the Romine Children’s Fund.