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North West River youth embraces opportunity provided by RCMP

RCMP Cpl. Christine Soucy and 17-year-old Alice Michelin.
RCMP Cpl. Christine Soucy and 17-year-old Alice Michelin. - Contributed

NORTH WEST RIVER, N.L.

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

CANADA

Alice Michelin of North West River recently returned from a Youth Leadership Workshop at RCMP Depot in Regina, Saskatchewan where young people from across the country talked about various timely topics – from bullying to road safety, from sexual consent to substance misuse.

The 17-year-old honours student at Lake Melville School said her former English teacher, Reg Hutchings, encouraged her to apply for the workshop.

After making some inquiries, Alice contacted RCMP Cpl. Christine Soucy of the Happy Valley-Goose Bay detachment about her interest in heading to Regina.

Alice told the Corporal how she is involved in numerous activities in her school. She plays volleyball, badminton and table tennis and helps out with the Kids Eat Smart program and attends a weekly youth group.

She also volunteers her time at the annual seniors Christmas dinner in North West River and helped at the masquerade ball fundraiser for Libra House in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

The workshop at RCMP Depot took place Aug. 21-26.

Alice said the sessions helped her strengthen her leadership and public speaking skills.

The youth also learned a lot about the RCMP, she said.

“We got to see the swimming pool and the gym, and a lot of different other things that go on at Depot. And we also had time to work on our action plans for when we came back home,” she said.

Alice’s action plan will help her raise awareness about violence against women in her community.

“Alice is tasked to develop a community action plan to help address a youth crime or victimization issue in her community. Alice hopes to raise awareness against domestic violence and make her community safer,” Soucy said.

She will participate in the annual Take Back the Night Walk in September and will host a vigil at her school on Dec. 6 – a day set aside as National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

“In February (2019) I’ll be doing something for the Red Dress project,” Alice said of the annual event that raises awareness about the country’s missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Alice said the leadership workshop was a great opportunity to meet youth from across the country.

“At the end of the week we all presented our action plans. And, even if the idea was the same, all the actions plans were different,” she said.

When asked what she learned from participating in the sessions, Alice said, it became obvious there are problems in every community. Many of the problems that are happening in communities in this province, she said, are similar in other regions of the country.

The RCMP has been hosting Youth Leadership Workshops since 2011. The workshops help youth develop skills and gain knowledge that helps them become active partners in helping keep communities safe.

An RCMP officer accompanied each youth who participated in the workshop. Soucy was the police officer that mentored Alice and was there with her throughout the week.

Alice said, “It was really nice to see youth and police interacting in a positive way rather than a negative one… and (Cpl. Soucy) was really great in helping me figure out the action plan I wanted to follow. Any questions I had she could answer which was really good.”.

Soucy said Alice did really well at the leadership workshop and is an inspiration to others.

Discussions on issues that matter were conducted between the youth and RCMP mentors, Soucy said, in order to build leadership skills and get to experience life at Depot.

danette@nl.rogers.com

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