Alix, Clive youth learn what it’s like to be a police officer

Stettler RCMP officer Leanne Zielke came back to the Blackfalds RCMP detachment to participate in Kids N’ Kops. Cst. Zielke was the Blackfalds RCMP school resource officer and said she wanted to come back to participate in the program. ECA Review/L. Joy

Central Alberta youth learned what it is like to be a police officer after participating in a weeklong Kids N’ Kops camp.

Preventative programs such as Kids N’ Kops teach the basics of what police officers endure during their work.

Hannah Warford and Coty Warford from Alix, as well as Brett Stuart and Brooke Stuart from Clive, took in the camp.

Alix-MAC school’s social worker, Connie Brooks also participated in addition to Stettler RCMP officer, Leanne Zielke who returned to Blackfalds to participate in Kids N’ Kops event.

Cst. Zielke is a former Blackfalds RCMP school resource officer and said she wanted to come back to participate in the program, adding, “It’s more fun than Christmas.”

“The police and mentors serve as role models and teach character, integrity, respect, honesty and compassion throughout all the activities,” said Lacombe Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Director Crystal Zens. “This program inspires youth to think of policing as a future career and teach what it takes to achieve it. Also raising community-minding citizens for the future.”

The camp was created from scratch by Lacombe BBBS Director Crystal Zens and her husband Lacombe Police Cst. Bryan Zens.

The program only has space for 24 youth each year and according to Zens, “Historically we have a wait list.”

Youth who participated came from Alix, Clive, Lacombe County, Lacombe, Blackfalds, Eckville and Bentley.

The inaugural year of Kids N’ Kops Camp was 2008.

The camp is a collaborative, preventative program for youth. Lacombe and District BBBS has held joint camps in Blackfalds for the past six years.

The youth had a week packed full of fun activities including, a murder mystery in Blackfalds, a police obstacle course in Blackfalds’ Tayles Park, Red Deer Bower pond boat races, laser tag, a K-9 demonstration at the Innisfail RCMP Detachment, police dodge ball and surveillance scenarios and police community scenarios like drunk driving, shop lifting, graffiti and drug dealing at the Lacombe Memorial Centre.

“The Murder Mystery at After the Grind was new and the kids loved it,” said Crystal Zens.
The youth graduated at a ceremonial barbecue with family and dignitaries on July 7 at Lacombe’s Burman University.

Lacombe’s Kids N’ Kops program won the 2013 Solicitor General Award for Crime Prevention.

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