New to Surrey is a free program for youth that aims to develop leadership skills and educate about Indigenous culture and policing.
In 2021, Metro Vancouver Transit Police launched its Blue Eagle Community Cadet program for all youth aged 12 to 15, at Britannia Community Centre in East Vancouver.
Now, an open house about the program expansion to Surrey is planned for 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27 at A.H.P. Matthew Elementary, 13367 97 Avenue, in Whalley.
“This is your opportunity to learn more about the weekly program that immerses participants in Indigenous culture while they learn new skills, build self-confidence and give back to their community,” says a Facebook event post.
“Meet the program director, Metro Vancouver Transit Police Indigenous Liaison, Constable Kirk Rattray (Tahltan First Nation), and have all of your questions answered.”
The Blue Eagle Community Cadets are coming to Surrey! Come check out this FREE program for youth age 12-15 at our open house. Thanks to our partners @Surrey_Schools @SurreyRCMP @OptionsBC and the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Learn more: https://t.co/KJqroAhETj pic.twitter.com/BQB38Dk8T4
— Blue Eagle Community Cadets (@blueeaglecadets) January 18, 2022
The cadet program is based on a similar venture in Winnipeg.
At the community centre in Vancouver, activities have included drumming, singing, sports, hiking, crafts, First Nations teachings, food, talking circles and more.
Video about the program is posted to Metro Vancouver Transit Police’s YouTube channel.
“We’re trying to break down barriers, right, so we’re trying to make it easier for youth to interact with us and to start to trust the police,” Rattray says in the three-minute video.
Although the program “has a strong focus on Indigenous culture,” applicants do not need to be of Indigenous heritage to participate. “Anyone can apply who wishes to experience Indigenous culture and protocols,” according to a post on transitpolice.ca/BlueEagle, where an application is linked.
Applicants must be aged 12 to 15, a resident of Metro Vancouver, attending school fulltime, interested in learning more about the different aspects of policing, motivated to learn new skills and welcome new challenges, and be willing to be an active and respectful participant.
Program partners include Surrey Schools, Surrey RCMP, Options and the Ministry of Children and Family Development.