LETHBRIDGE: Police headquarters was overrun with kids this week - but it wasn't because of a spike in youth crime. Officers hosted a camp with a local charity to reach out to the city's children.
"We want them to see more than what they get from T.V. The biggest myth these guys have is that every day is a shoot out and every day is some crazy crime," says Stu Wickend, a school resource officer who helped host the event. "But it's not. It's about public service, listening to the public and working."
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lethbridge chose 11 children to go to the camp this year, from a waiting list of kids who are hoping to be matched with a role model. Volunteer and Development Coordinator Kate Currie says the number of kids on the list has narrowed drastically in recent months - 25 compared to the average 50 names that were on the list in past years. But that doesn't mean the need is any less great.
"It's so important for these kids to have a positive role model in their life. It really, really makes a difference," says Currie. "And a lot of these kids wouldn't otherwise have a positive adult relationship. So please come out and support us any way you can." Currie says they have a growing need for "big brother" volunteers, but they can use just about anyone to help with many different roles. Meanwhile, the 11 kids at this week's cop camp will attend a "graduation" with their new pals on Friday.
"My hope is that now they can see us - that we're just average joes too," says Wickend. "We have families and we're painting and playing cards with the kids and we're watching the parade. It's to take away that mystique." This is the fourteenth year regional police have paired with the kids group for this camp.