REGINA – RCMP and at-risk youth from across Canada came to Regina for the RCMP Youth Leadership Workshop at the RCMP Depot.
One of the attendees is 15 year-old Hunter Frank-Settee-Beardy, who admits that he’s seen a lot in his hometown of Thompson, Manitoba.
“What I see is that the youth start drinking at the age of 14,” Frank-Settee-Beardy said.
He’s also well aware of the causes.
“Some of it is affected by the Indian residential school,” Frank-Settee-Beardy noted, while also acknowledging the strains that occur between aboriginal youth and police.
“The youth they have trust issues with the RCMP, well some do. So, it takes patience and time to make a bond with them.”
It’s why Frank-Settee-Beardy came to Regina.
“I’ve known Hunter since he was a little baby”
He’s one of sixteen aboriginal youth who represented each province and territory at the workshop.
Some of the activities included addressing some of the social issues that exist in their hometowns.
“So, Identifying a youth crime or victimization topic in their community. And over the course of this week building an action plan that they can go back to their community and implement,” RCMP youth engagement coordinator Vanessa Rotondo said.
Part of this pro-active policing approach meant pairing each young person with a police ally from their community.
“I’ve known Hunter since he was a little baby for a matter of fact,” Thompson RCMP Special Constable Robert Cleveland explained.
While Cleveland is no stranger to Frank-Settee-Beardy and his family, the workshop provided an atmosphere that allowed them to reveal all.
“We’re not wearing our uniforms this week, we’re just regular people,” Cleveland said.
“The youth they have trust issues with the RCMP”
He wasn’t afraid to show the bond the two had created over the course of the week but also highlighted the fact he learnt a lot about the issues facing communities nationwide.
“What kind of took my ear was the folks up in Nunavut. We may have drugs and alcohol but they have no food,” Cleveland noted.
At the end of the workshop all sixteen aboriginal youth and their police allies received a leadership certificate.
The hope is that such recognition will not only inspire them to be leaders in their forces and in their communities but to also continue the relationships they built in Regina.Follow @BrandonGonez