PENN YAN, N.Y. (WETM) – Honorary membership is now open for the New York State Sheriff’s Institute, which lets the community donate to help disadvantaged kids attend the Sheriff’s Summer Camp on Keuka Lake.

The Chemung and Tioga County Sheriff’s Office announced that the public can make a tax-deductible $25 gift to the NYSSI as an honorary member. The departments said that if you receive a letter from the NYSSI, it is not a scam.

The campaign serves as the institute’s main fundraiser, and the money supports the Sheriff’s Summer Camp on Keuka Lake. According to the Sheriff’s Offices, up to 840 economically disadvantaged children from across the state attend the camp for free. These children would otherwise would not be able to attend a camp, the NYSSI said. The Sheriff’s Institute Summer Camp includes activities like swimming and sailing and aims to build positive experiences for the kids “with an emphasis on the development of self-esteem” in a setting with Deputy Sheriffs.

“With many sheriff’s deputies from across the state working as counselors side-by-side with the kids, the camp acts as a bridge between today’s youth and law enforcement to foster positive relationships and help build mutual trust,” said Chemung County Sheriff Bill Schrom. “By becoming an honorary member, you are helping us strengthen our communities and giving opportunities for kids in your area to have a wonderful summer camp experience.”

Anyone who donates will receive a membership card, bumper sticker, a window decal, as well as a year’s subcription to the NYSSI newsletter. Donations can be made by visiting the New York State Sheriff’s Institue website.

According to the NYSSI, the non-profit was created in 1979 and serves to provide “centralized training programs and services for all Sheriff’s Offices, where those programs and services would be unavailable or impractical on a single county basis.”