Cadets earn their stripes
- EFN Staff | June 02, 2016
The Princess Alexandra Community School gymnasium was alive with the stomping of boots and the crisp orders of Drill Instructor Constable Marc Belanger. Once he brought them into line he asked them. “If one fails?” “We all fail!” responded 27 highly motivated and disciplined cadets.
The cadets were at their best for their grad. The grade 4 to 8 students had just completed over six months of training in the Saskatoon Police Peacekeepers Cadets program and their parents and peers were on hand to celebrate the accomplishment.
“We are so proud of all of these young people for what they have accomplished,” said Constable Derek Chesney the coordinator of the program. “Just to see the kids grow. When we start they are a bit disruptive and out of control. But now at the end of the program, they work in unison and come with smiles on their faces and mature as people and now are prepared to give something back to the community.”
The cadets meet every Wednesday night where they do a variety of different activities.
“Constable Belanger teaches them drill where they learn discipline and working as a team and unit. We play lots of sports, go to blades games. Bottom line is giving these kids a choice,” said Constable Chesney. “They don’t have to get involved in gangs or drugs and alcohol. They can work towards better goals and a better life.”
This is the second year of the program and it is run in conjunction with the Dream Brokers program with the Public Schools and their support has been pivotal in keeping the program running as well as the dedication of the many police officers who are involved.
“We teach the kids good values. Respect, honesty, service to the community and respect of your elders,” said Chesney. “We try and get them into the community doing stuff. We had them volunteer at Friendship Inn and working with and helping elders. This is stuff they may never get a chance to be exposed to.”
Zoe Wilkinson-Lerat is in Grade 5 at Princess Alexandra and she was the recipient of the Outstanding Graduate award.
“I had lots of fun in the program. I learned respect. We would go every Wednesday night. Then play a bit, and then do drill. Also do good things in the community. It was all fun,” she said at the graduation. But it looks like the police might not be able to benefit from her training as she wants to go in kind of a different direction in her career. “I learned the police job is very serious and that I want to be a firefighter when I grow up.”