Believing that members of Halifax Regional Police (HRP) have talents they can share with our citizens, most importantly our youth, particularly those from socially/economically stressed areas, Constable Dwight (Dewey) Hennigar created an initiative called HRP Sports Pals. Below is Dewey’s account of what Sports Pals is all about:
Many of our officers have played or coached sports at a high level. It’s been proven and we all know that youth who are engaged in sports are less likely to become involved in crime. Through HRP Sports Pals, our officers provide these youth with an opportunity to learn, have fun and just as importantly, see police officers in a different light.
We’ve piloted our project the past two summers by holding a one day mini soccer camp. Each camp attracted about 30 youths aged 8-12 who were instructed by police officers and Dalhousie University men’s and women’s varsity soccer teams who volunteered their time and expertise. The days were spent by having the children and the officers run drills and relays and as the day progressed all in attendance got into the serious competition – games.
The youth and instructors were provided with drinks and refreshments throughout the day and at lunch time some of the officers fired up the BBQ where hotdogs and snacks were served. When I looked around I noticed little pockets of kids sitting down chatting with an officer. I’m not sure what they were talking about and it didn’t really matter, what’s important is that they were talking and laughing.
To me this is really what it is all about, it was nice to see the children become more relaxed as the day moved along. At the end of the day all the participants received an HRP Sports Pals T-shirt and a soccer ball they could take home to continue to practice their new found skills and just as importantly, get some exercise and have fun.
I must say, I’m not really sure who enjoyed the day more, the kids or the officers, but I know I had a blast and everyone left with a big smile on their face. The end result is a group of kids that not only had fun, but got to see police officers in a new light and the officers got to see kids differently as well. Simply said, we are investing in our youth and our youth are our future.
Thanks for creating such a great program for our kids, Dewey. I look forward to seeing this grow in the coming years. In fact, Dewey is already in the planning phase for this year’s camp. This is a simple step that anyone can take to help bring our kids together in a fun, friendly and safe way. Do you remember when all the neighbourhood kids got together and created their own fun? I sure do and it didn’t cost a cent. I remember playing tag, hide and seek, kick the can (oh boy, I’m dating myself) and other games that brought a neighbourhood together. How can we get back to that?