A group of girls took on the challenge of camping in December as part of an ongoing program to connect with young women in 12 Division.
The initial focus of the ProAction Cops & Kids Survivorgirl program is to interact and engage with young women from priority neighbourhoods as well as newcomers to Canada on topics that relate to them such as personal safety, domestic violence and positive relationship-building but also emphasizes learning life skills.
The objective is to provide them with resources and skills that they can apply to their own lives. I support them with specific interests as they move through the educational systems and into adulthood. I have enrolled many of these youth in the Duke of Edinburgh Award program. The Duke of Edinburgh Award is a program that involves challenging these youth to step outside their comfort zone and achieve challenges of the award including personal discovery and growth, self-reliance, perseverance and responsibility. Part of the award includes them completing an adventurous overnight journey, along with that they are to try/build new skills involved with the adventure .
On December 4-6, my partner Constable Shayne Gordon and I, who work as Neighbourhood Officers in the Humber Blvd. and Jane St./Woolner Ave. area had an opportunity to work with youth worker Hani Ali, from Access Alliance to provide a group of girls with a camping trip to build on their life skills. The girls, aged 12 to 17, took a trip with us to the Scouts Canada property in Stouffville for an entire weekend. On our journey we taught the youth camping skills, orienteering, fire starting and safety, outdoor cooking on open fire, leadership exercises, teamwork building, wilderness awareness, wildlife identification and crafts around the campfire. It was an remarkable success. We were very pleased with the manners and deeds of these girls.
One of the girls, who had recently come to Canada, said to me: “This was the most amazing opportunities I have ever experienced, I was so happy to be included.”
It was a great opportunity to make a difference in these young women's lives and I have personally seen the positive affect this SurvivorGirl program has had on the youth in the communities I work in.
Several of the girls have continued to stay in contact with me awaiting their next opportunity and adventure.