Three DRPS officers and 10 youth recently traveled to Haliburton to take part in a dog sledding and snowshoeing adventure. The initiative was part of the Durham Wilderness series of adventure programs facilitated by ProAction Cops and Kids.
For the fourth year in a row officers and youth aged 12-17 spent three days interacting and learning valuable life skills. Activities included winter survival skills, fire building and shelter construction. They took part in a full day of dog sledding followed by an opportunity to pair up and take control of their own team of dogs for the day. The group traveled roughly 30 kilometres by dogsled in -25 degree weather.
Officers had the opportunity to speak to youth about issues concerning them including gang resistance, drug use, youth leadership and social responsibility. Two of this year's youth successfully completed the leadership segment of the program and now serve as program ambassadors and trip volunteers. As youth leaders, they earn high school volunteer hours as well as valuable leadership skills.
The Durham Dogsled Adventure program is part of a three-program series including white water rafting on the Ottawa River and a week-long canoe excursion in Algonquin Park. Several youth have gone on from these programs to gain employment with the DRPS Youth in Policing program and become productive members of various community organizations.
The programs are designed to be engaging and dynamic while breaking down barriers between youth and police officers. Through these programs officers are able to establish trust, build positive relationships and have real discussions with the youth in a wilderness setting. The youth are extremely receptive to the information as they do not perceive it as a mandatory lecture in a formal teaching setting. Organizers believe that this is the foundation for the success of the programs.
All programs are funded through the generosity and commitment of ProAction Cops and Kids. Additional funding and support is provided by The DRPS, the Police Appreciation Dinner and Awards Night and supporting community partners.
ProAction Cops & Kids is a charitable organization that provides funding for Durham Region Police Programs for youth at risk. For more information contact ProAction@drps.ca
Dog Sledding (JPG file, 1,352.7K bytes)
Youth Take a break to pet the dogs (JPG file, 666.0K bytes)
Time for a hug (JPG file, 1,180.6K bytes)
Sled Dogs pose for a photo (JPG file, 959.5K bytes)