DEDHAM, MA, Oct. 8, 2013 - Norfolk County Sheriff Michael G. Bellotti’s Youth Leadership Academy had a great turnout this year with an impressive total of 988 participants due to its highly successful leadership program and safety workshops.

The academy, which is open to all Norfolk County residents in the age range of 10 to 14, offers nine week-long summer sessions that are designed to enhance leadership and communication skills. The core mission of the academy is achieved not only through problem-solving activities and highly popular low and high ropes courses but also effective anti-bullying, anti-drug, and safety workshops.

“Each year I am gratified by the amount of positive feedback from parents and recent graduates of the academy,” said Sheriff Bellotti. “Parents are satisfied because the program promotes anti-bullying and safety initiatives and kids love it because they are building self-confidence and having fun doing it.

“I also want to thank Mayor Joe Sullivan of Braintree for his continued support of the Academy. For the past several years, his administration has been a gracious host in helping us sustain our mission.”

This year was the first time the academy hosted Steve Sweeney, a popular Boston comedian, actor and member of The Gavin Foundation’s Speakers for Hope to speak to the older group of youth leaders about drug and alcohol abuse.

For the past two years, the Youth Leadership Academy has also incorporated a fire safety presentation into the program. The workshop urges the children to practice fire safety within their homes and construct a fire plan with their families. Youth leaders are also instructed how to use a fire extinguisher and safely navigate through a smoke-filled room.

Next year’s summer schedule and opening day for online registrations will be announced in early 2014. Be sure to visit the Youth Leadership Academy’s Facebook page at “Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office Youth Leadership Academy” or call (781)751-3501 for more information.