Abbotsford’s emergency responders have teamed up with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fraser Valley (BBBS) to spend a week mentoring children who are waiting to be matched with a Big sibling.
The Local Heroes camp ran last week, gathering 12 youth aged eight to 13 with members of the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) and Abbotsford Fire Services. The kids learn more about the work done by emergency services, and get to know the people behind the uniforms.
Const. Carrie Durocher said many of the police officers involved also work as school liaison officers, so this furthers their work with children in the community. She said each morning the children learn about different aspects of law enforcement, such as meeting with members of APD’s traffic section, who show them how to use radar guns. They were visited by the RCMP’s Air One helicopter, and members explained how they assist the police. The canine unit also stopped by with demonstrations of how dogs are used in police work.
But the best part, said Durocher, is the afternoons, when the children and officers have a variety of fun activities, such as going to Castle Fun Park, playing mini-golf, having water balloon fights, visiting a horse ranch, and an afternoon at the Cultus Lake Waterpark.
Durocher said the kids have fun learning about what police officers do to stop crime, “but I think what they really enjoy is just seeing us as regular people.”
After meeting some of the students in schools, Durocher said the camp is a chance to get to know them in another capacity.
“It’s really cool to watch them interact with us and talk with us… outside of our uniforms.”
The camp has been running for 11 years in Abbotsford and Durocher said she is happy for the opportunity to give back.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity… to be a role model or mentor for a youth who is in need of that – even if its only for three or four days.”