Basseterre, St. Kitts, August 25, 2017 (SKNIS): “Stay Together, Build Together; I Need Love and Protection; Crime is Everyone’s Business; and Guns Don’t Kill People; People Do” were some of the messages being displayed by more than 200 young people, as they marched through Basseterre on Friday, August 25, showcasing the value of the Police Summer Youth Camp.
The march was the climax of the inaugural activity that is being held at the Dr. William Connor Primary School from August 14 to 27. The camp was designed to bridge the gap between the community and the police and to provide positive guidance to young people. Maleek Queeley, a 12-year-old participant from Buckley’s, said the camp was “cool” as he got to make new friends and learnt about the importance of being loving and respectful. He said the demonstration with Canine Officer Castor was an eye opener.
“The police dogs are protective and if you have any drugs they will smell it from far,” he stated, noting its capabilities in anti drug operations. He stated that he had a good time at camp. “I want to say to the police thank you (for organizing the camp) and I hope that they have it next year.”
Another participant, Gabriella Swanston, 14, of Molineux, stated that she was excited to attend the daily sessions, which included topics about peer pressure, bullying, sexual abuse, children’s rights and more. The young woman admitted that prior to the camp, she didn’t care much for police officers, but now she has a completely new perspective.
“They are good in a lot of different ways,” she said, with a reflective smile. “They look out for people, take care of people and make sure nothing bad is happening in the community.” Ms. Swanston said that she will encourage her peers to always be respectful when dealing with the Police or other authority figures in the community.
Jessica Jeffers, a resident of St. Johnston’s Village sent her eight year old son to the camp so that he can learn more about the Police, and why he should stay out of trouble. She said that the two week camp is a good initiative to bring the public and the Police closer together.
“With a camp such as this, hosting smaller children, it’s a way of them touching and reaching youth from an early age,” she said, highlighting the camper’s age range from 5 to 16 years. She added that the participants will learn not to fear police officers but rather to respect and support them whenever and wherever possible. “With this (camp), the children will be able to go home and say, ‘hey mommy, a police officer, he/she really has a tough job and we must respect him/her some more, show him/her appreciation much more and I think they (the Police) will gain a lot if they continue doing a camp such as this one.”
Activities for the camp conclude on Sunday with a service at the Christian Life Assembly Church at Bladen’s.