“That’s not a cop, that’s my buddy Will”
Through no fault of their own, some kids may harbour negative feelings about their local law enforcement officers. For any number of reasons and whether their feelings are justified or not, it is irrelevant, the damage is done. Cops are bad and can’t be trusted.
Of course nothing could be further from the truth. Police officers, like all of us, want a safe and supportive community that we can all be proud of. Engaging and interacting in a positive manner with kids in their formative years is crucial to breaking this cycle of distrust. South Shore Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) in partnership with the Town of Bridgewater Police Services and the local RCMP, with funding provided by the United Way of Lunenburg County and in-kind services provided by the local business community have created 2 hugely successful 5 day summer day camp programs called “Kids and Kops.” This free camp is open to children who are currently in a BBBS program like “In School Mentoring” or a traditional big brother, big sister adult/child match or are on a waiting list for these great programs.
This intensive summer day camp experience provides local at-risk kids and local law enforcement officers with the opportunity to interact, learn, share and experience a wide variety of activities related to law enforcement, recreation and adventure. Crime scene investigation, mock trials as well as trips to the beach and Keji are just some of the many activities that Kids and Kops may experience up close and together. After nervous first day jitters, followed by an action packed week, the camp ends with a graduation ceremony where Kops are friends and on a first name basis. Many of the kids express a keen interest on becoming police officers themselves. One of the organizers, Constable Will Creamer, School Liaison Officer, says that the program gives him a legitimate “In” with the kids at schools. “That’s not a cop, that’s my buddy Will,” is a phrase that he hears often. What is also telling is the number of local kids who have never been to the beach, Lunenburg, Keji or on a boat. “It breaks my heart” says BBBS Executive Director Sandra Murray.
If you know of a child who could benefit from Big Brothers Big Sisters programming like Kids and Kops, please call them at 543-4435.
To find out more about how the United Way of Lunenburg County is putting your donations to work helping Lunenburg County youth, families, seniors and communities, to see the requirements necessary to obtain a grant, to sign up for our e-newsletter and/or to make a secure online donation please check out this website.