Greater Victoria high school students sharpen leadership skills at Police Camp


Sixty students from across Greater Victoria have signed up for a leadership program at Albert Head Cadet Camp in Metchosin.

Over the course of seven days, they attend a mix of lectures on leadership and public safety, physical training, activity challenges, drill instruction, exploration of social responsibility, good citizenship and important life skills, according to organizers.

“You build on so many skillsets – confidence, leadership, discipline – but really, it’s you who grows out of this experience,” said Haris Umair, a student from Royal Bay Secondary School.

Police Camp is organized by the Greater Victoria Police Foundation (GVPF) and is presented at no cost to students. It’s delivered by police officers, reserve officers, RCMP and others, and students have to apply through their schools.

“We go through their schools and do presentations, and we work with the school counselors and system,” said Kim Basi, camp director.

“Then I will come in and do interviews to the classes, and then after kids put in the application, there’s an interview process.”

This year, they received a hundred applications – 60 of them made it to Police Camp. Pamela Suarez, a student from Reynolds High School, is one of them.

“Being a police officer is something I wanted to do for a long time. I saw this opportunity, so I had to go for it, and now I think I’ll do it.”

At camp, students get hands-on experience through B&E simulations in groups of 12 led by team leaders.

“What we help out with is answering any questions the students have, leading them through the scenarios,” said Const. Chris Kayiatos with Victoria Police.

As a provincially incorporated non-profit society, the GVPF’s vision is that the communities of Victoria, Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Saanich and Central Saanich, as well as regional Indigenous communities, experience positive change driven by youth through empowering citizenship and leadership programs.

Police Camp is one of those programs they hope will attract more students and help them walk away more confident and connected.

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