HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Hundreds of runners and walkers participated in this year’s Sheriff’s Shuffle 5K Run/Walk in Holyoke on Sunday.

According to a news release from the Hampden County Sheriff’s Office, the run/walk at Ashley Reservoir raised more than $20,000 to help support Sheriff Nick Cocchi’s Youth Leadership Academy summer camp.

The entry fee is $40 on race day, and all registrations include a long-sleeved, dry-fit shirt. The 3.1-mile running course is a flat loop trail that circles the pristine reservoir. The race/walk began at 10:30 a.m. Entertainment began at 10:45 a.m., and an award ceremony took place at 12:00 p.m.

The Youth Leadership Academy, now in its 5th year, is a free camp that is operated by Sheriff Cocchi’s office to give young people with parents who are incarcerated or who live in economically challenged areas of western Massachusetts a chance to experience a summer of fun and learning. The program also aims to provide holiday gifts for each of the campers and all of their siblings every December.

“This event is to combat that on the front end, to get the children actively engaged in after school activities, keeping them busy getting them into the education and the skill sets of music, playing games, and understanding hobbies. And, really getting in a mind frame of going back to school after summer, getting good grades, and looking to further their education,” expressed Hampden County Sheriff, Nick Cocchi.

Mayor Domenic Sarno will join Sheriff Nick Cocchi for the walk/run on Sunday, according to the City of Springfield.

Mayor Sarno states, “I want to commend and fully support Sheriff Nick Cocchi’s efforts on this great initiative.  I am proud to once again support this great event.  Sheriff Cocchi provides many programs and initiatives for people with an emphasis on helping them turn their lives around.  The Sheriff’s Shuffle is a special program that supports youth outreach.  I want to thank everyone for their continued support, especially all of the partner agencies that continue to work together with us to provide assistance and resources to those in need.”

“This camp is a way of giving back to the community and building a positive relationship with law enforcement at a young age,” Sheriff Cocchi said. “Summer camp is typically expensive, and many local families can’t afford it. Our Youth Leadership Academy alleviates the financial concern and gives parents a break for a few weeks while giving the kids some lessons and great memories. My goal is for this to continue to grow each year and have a positive impact on even more young people.”

The camp is held from late June to early August at the Brightwood Elementary School in Springfield. For those interested in getting involved, more information is available on their website.

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