John Trainor said he's had some trouble with the police in the past, but that didn't stop the Grade 12 St. Charles College student from hitting the links with a few Greater Sudbury officers earlier this week.
In fact, he said it was "pretty cool."
The Greater Sudbury Police Service (GSPS) partnered with the Canadian Youth Golf Alliance (CYGA) for the CYGA Day on May 16 at the Timberwolf Golf Course. The purpose of the event was to introduce the youth of the CYGA to the golf industry and to the game of golf. Participants were educated on golf course conduct, the game itself and received fundamental instruction on the course, including playing a few holes. Youth also interacted with members of the GSPS, giving them an opportunity to speak to police officers and learn about policing in a positive environment.
"I've always had a problem with the police, I had a bad experience with them," he said. "It's a lot better being on this side of the field."
Trainor said the fact that the police were out in golf shirts, rather than uniforms, made it a more friendly environment.
"They're a little more intimidating in the uniforms," he said.
Insp. Bob Keetch, with the GSPS, said the event was a great opportunity to work closer with the youth.
"I think it's an ideal opportunity ... to break down the stereotypical barriers that exist between youth and police and let them realize that there's more to us than just the typical uniform," he said. "We're people in the community and we like to become engaged.
"We'll go out on the course with them and it will be more one-on-one interaction and that's something that is really valuable for us - to get engaged with the youth."
Chris Polisch, the alternative learning program leader at St. Charles College, said taking the students to the golf course was just one more way to try to "hook them into coming to school."
"We deal with the students who, for one reason or another, are having difficulties in the regular classroom," he said. "We offer them alternative experiences ... something that might lead to a job down the road or help them pick up some skills that they might be able to use in the future."
As for the partnership with the police, Polisch said it was important to maintain that connection, "so the students learn to respect them, to find out what their role is and how the police actually care about their future."
For more information on the CYGA, visit canadianyouthgolfalliance.com.
Posted by Laurel Myers