Delta Police are always looking for ways to connect with, and support, our youth. We recognize this is a critical element of our Community Safety Plan. In October, with the support of the Delta Police Foundation and the Delta School District, we hosted the first annual Girls Who Lead symposium.
The morning started with a series of incredible women who presented to over 100 girls on their careers and life paths. The lineup of speakers included a doctor, an airline pilot, a cancer researcher, a pedorthist, a firefighter, a police officer and the second-vice-president of Toastmasters International. Each woman had individual messages for the girls about success and failure, different life paths, perseverance and hard work, but together they were impactful beyond our expectations.
The afternoon was full of hands-on activities including impaired driving education, use-of-force demonstrations, and a tour of an ambulance, a fire truck and an emergency response team vehicle. But by far the most popular of it all was a visit from a six-month-old K9 puppy-in-training.
The Girls Who Lead conference was developed by our very own women in the DPD who wanted to give girls an opportunity to hear from women who have broken down barriers and who work in traditionally male-dominated sectors like policing, firefighting and the airlines.
Interest in the event was immediate by both students in Delta as well as the speakers. By the end of the first full day of registration the conference was fully booked. In talking to the speakers, they enjoyed presenting as much as the girls enjoyed being there. The Delta Police Department plans to host this event on an annual basis to give young women an opportunity to spend a day with role models and learn the importance of education, persistence and determination.
A special thank you to the Delta School District for supplying the venue and to the Delta Police Foundation for sponsoring the lunch and refreshments. The Delta Police Foundation has been generous in its support of a number of youth events including the youth soccer academy, the student police academy and the 3-on-3 basketball tournament. The Girls Who Lead symposium is now firmly planted in that list of events.
How do we know if the day was a success?
At the end of the event, there was a young woman waiting outside to be picked up. One of our symposium planners asked if the day had inspired her future plans. She replied that she wanted to be a police officer but her father was not supportive, so instead she was thinking about forensic psychology. She went on to say, “but after today, I think I am going to be a police officer.”
Who knows, maybe she’ll be a future chief.
Neil Dubord is the chief constable of the Delta Police Department.