ALMA – Friday afternoon marks the beginning of an RCMP initiative, with hopes it will continue to grow and become successful.
RCMP members from throughout the province will be in Alma at Northumberland Regional High School as the RCMP “Officers of the Court” team takes on the NRHS varsity boys basketball team as part of their winter carnival. The goal of the game is to build relationships between the students and officers, with a message being delivered to the group at halftime.
Const. Bryce Haight said the idea for the game came from Cpl. Glenn Bonvie of the Stellarton detachment. Friday will be the first game for the Officers of the Court team. Haight said choosing the first school to be Northumberland was because of connections within the school he currently has.
“This was all Cpl. Bonvie’s idea,” said Haight. “He has a love for the game of basketball and a love of the community, so it was a perfect fit for us. I’m currently the school safety resource officer for the region and have an office at Northumberland right now and am the manager of the boys basketball team, which made it easy to set up this first game, especially with it being the first.”
Haight said the message to be delivered to students was decided upon by the school’s administration from a list of topics the officers specialize on. The NRHS administration determined that texting and driving or distracted driving would apply to their students the most. The talk will be given by Sgt. Al Affleck of the Bible Hill detachment.
The game, meant to educate the students, is also meant to be fun and allow them to see the officers in a different light.
“We want them to see there’s a human side to our staff and that they can have fun,” said Haight. “In some cases the first time a youth encounters a police officer it’s for negative reasons, but we want their experience to be positive, for them to have fun and learn something new.”
“We hope it’s a good opportunity to combine learning with fun because when I was in school the best teachers were the ones that did that and the messages stuck with me.”
Although this is the first game the group hopes to set up games at a number of schools during the next academic year and possibly a few more during the remainder of this year.
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