The Greater Victoria Police Camp is not new but the intensive, in depth experience is new each year for a fresh crop of enrollees who are selected to attend. This year’s group includes two young women from the Sooke area – Fiona Pierce and Skye Groves.
The camp is now underway at Albert Head in Metchosin and this year’s turnout continues the trend of law enforcement, as a career, generating much interest among area youth. Eighty applied and 50 were accepted for the eight-day camp.
“It’s absolutely a wonderful program,” says Career Counsellor Mrs. White at Edward Milne Community School. “We do all the promoting here within the schools and the students apply.”
White indicated the applications are forwarded to Greater Victoria police forces and subsequent interviews are done with selected applicants prior to the roster of camp attendees is drawn up.
Saanich Police Constable Jana Sawyer is a director of the camp and says the application packages are distributed to various schools each August and the completed applications need to be submitted in October.
“We try to have half and half,” said Sawyer in terms of the male to female ratio.
Constable Sawyer added that the value of the camp experience is significant for youth even if a policing career is not one of their goals.
“It’s not just for kids interested in a career, either,” she said on March 11. “It’s to build self-confidence… the leadership thing.”
The camp is now a little over halfway done.
What follows are some comments from Fiona Pierce in answer to some questions asked just ahead of day one – last Saturday.
“As of right now, I hope to have a career in law enforcement,” said the local teen. “I believe that this camp is a great introduction to the many roles in law inforcement, not just as a police officer. I have wanted to be part of the justice system (from being a lawyer to a forensic scientist) since middle school.”
Notable past achievements listed by Pierce include attending the 2006 World Peace Forum in Vancouver with a group of students from Journey Middle School and scoring 100 per cent for her overall grade in Math 10 Pre-Ap.
She has 13 years with Sooke Dance Studio to her credit and she spends at least four hours a week in Grade 6 RAD Ballet, Contemporary, Ballroom and Performance Company classes.
Pierce volunteers with the EMCS leadership group, Ayre Manor, and Sooke Minor Hockey. Both her younger sisters play hockey and her mom is on the executive. She also worked as a research assistant with the Sooke Region Museum this past summer.
As for her take on the same line of pre-camp questioning, Skye Groves says:
“I would like to become a police officer, the RCMP interests me the most at this time. I have wanted to be a police officer for as long as I can remember. I have applied for and been accepted to the criminal justice program at Camosun College this fall.”
Groves said she first heard of police camp about two years ago at school.
“I admire the people who keep our society safe and I too would like to make a positive impact to my community, and I like to be of help and service to people.”
With no actual police service in her family background Skye mentioned that her grandpa did military service, was wounded and captured in the Second World War.
“I think I get some of my sense of justice and service from him,” she said.
Groves enjoyed a week of learning at the Bamberton Marine Biology Centre earlier this school year and is grateful for the privilege of volunteering in the community (Fall Fair, Royal Canadian Legion, Saseenos Elementary School).
She loves playing and coaching basketball and is active as a big sister as well.
The two girls don’t know each other well, but were each looking forward to getting better acquainted during the camp.