PGRCMP Youth Academy starts this weekend!

Prince George

2024-03-15 21:21 PDT

The Prince George RCMP Youth Academy starts up this coming Sunday, March 17, 2024. Fourteen students are participating in the week-long initiative, which aims to give the students a sneak-peak at what the RCMP training academy, known as Depot, is like.

The program runs for a full week between March 17 and 23 at College Heights Secondary School. The students and their Mountie facilitators will sleep, eat and learn at the school. Students will participate in activities such as drill practice, handcuffing, and running the Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation (PARE). They will also take classes in Indigenous Policing, Criminal Code offenses and powers of arrest, among other subjects.

Photo of Cadet Mekenna Parker receiving her certificate from Prince George RCMP Inspector (now Superintendent) Shaun Wright following the 2018 Youth Academy
Click here for a larger photo of Cadet Mekenna Parker receiving her certificate from Prince George RCMP Inspector (now Superintendent) Shaun Wright following the 2018 Youth Academy

Prince George RCMP caught up with Youth Academy alumnus, Mekenna Parker, who was the Right Marker, or student leader, of her Youth Academy in 2018. We asked Mekenna, who went on to become an RCMP officer and is in her first year at her current post, a few questions about what the Youth Academy was like and if it helped prepare her for her first posting as a Mountie. Here’s what she had to say:

What parts of the Youth Academy were similar to Depot?
Thanks to the Youth Academy, I was well-prepared for the challenges of Depot. The program's week-long structure, which mirrors Cadet Training, was a significant factor in this. The classroom settings, physical aspects, exposure to drill classes, and early mornings all gave me a taste of what was to come. However, the most valuable aspect was the emphasis on teamwork, a core value at Depot. Understanding this from the RCMP's perspective made the transition into training much smoother.

What parts of the Youth Academy were different from Depot?
Understandably, there is only so much you can condense into one week compared to the 26 weeks of training in Regina. Hence, the biggest difference for me was knowingly adjusting to a new environment and learning to navigate such a structured lifestyle for an extended period of time. You quickly acknowledge the benefits of time management. Another aspect I appreciate about the Youth Academy is the exposure to the many careers the RCMP offers. In Depot, training aims to build a foundation of knowledge for policing. The Youth Academy touches on this but also introduces participants to other paths outside of general duty policing, such as Police Dog Services, Major Crime Units, the Emergency Response Team, and so much more.

Were there certain aspects of the Youth Academy that prepared you for Depot?
The two aspects that prepared me most for training were experiencing some level of structure standards and teamwork that Depot strives to uphold. Participants will have a set time for when their day begins and ends, a schedule for the day, a designated role or task, physical training, classwork, and so much more. Participants are tested in ways they may not have experienced before. This knowledge going into training was the most helpful in mentally preparing for the unknowns of Depot life and provided some confidence that others may not have had.

Do you have any advice for this year's Youth Academy participants?
My advice to this year's Youth Academy participants is to have fun and embrace the unique learning opportunities. Whether you want to pursue a career in policing or not, you will gain insights into this career that only some understand. You will have the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals, talented police officers from varying positions in the RCMP, and possibly future mentors. I guarantee it is an experience you will remember for years to come, filled with excitement and new challenges.

Now that you have been working as a police officer for a few months, did the Youth Academy give you an accurate glimpse into what the role of a police officer is like?
As I reflect on my journey as a police officer, I can confidently say that the Youth Academy gave me an accurate glimpse into this role. It also opened my eyes to the countless opportunities offered by the RCMP. Most importantly, it serves as a true reminder of the part we, as police officers, play in our communities. Programs like the Youth Academy allow us to become positive role models in the lives of young people, something that I felt as a participant that I hope to continue in my career.

We wish all of this year’s participants good luck and hope they have an amazing week learning about what it is like to be a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer!

Released by:

Cpl. Jennifer Cooper
Communications NCO / Media Relations Officer
Prince George RCMP
455 Victoria Street, Prince George, BC, V2L 0B7
Office: 250-561-3300


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