Justin Krakowka, a 16 year old Tumbler Ridge student took the opportunity offered in the school programs and succeeded. Before Christmas the grade 11 student decided to apply for a program offered through school District 59 and 57. The application for a one week RCMP Youth Academy was sent out before Christmas together with the required documents of a criminal record check and reference letters. Shortly after Christmas Justin was accepted into the program, that was offered during spring break at the Kelly Road Secondary School in Prince George. 29 young people came together to gain insight into the profession of a RCMP member. The 23 young men and six young ladies experienced a firm regime involving activities related to a RCMP career. The 16 to 18 year old participants went through a seven-day experience, starting at 5:30 in the morning and finishing by 10:30 at night. From a regular police work routine to an exciting exercise at the shooting range, the young men and women enjoyed the unusual taste of this important profession. Finally the week ended with an evaluation of their performance. There were two physical tests, a written test and a personal interview conducted by a police officer. At the graduation ceremony on Saturday, the students had opportunity to show what they had learned. The visit from Prince George RCMP Superintendent Brenda Butterworth-Carr and Prince George-Mount Robson MLA Shirley Bond signaled to all attendees the importance of the RCMPs-role in our society. All 29 students received their graduation certificate from the RCMP Youth Academy.
The program is designed to assist students to make informed career choices, and provides a very special opportunity for young people to assess their own capabilities. For Justin, the handling of a weapon as explained in the RCMP Youth Academy program differed greatly from general assumptions or TV-featured police actions. The work of a police officer is much more regimented; especially regarding the use of a weapon.
Justin expressed his impression on that subject with ?you protect everybody, but you also should be able to go home O.K. at the end of the day.?
Discipline is the overriding value in the RCMP profession. Krakowka named courage, honesty, precaution and respect as important qualities.
Justin did not make his final career decision yet as he is gathering work experience in his other possible career choice, carpentry.
Graduation in the RCMP Youth Academy does not ease the actual application process for a career but it provides an invaluable tool in making a career choice Justin Krakowka will make his after his high school graduation in 2010. For more about RCMP career visit: www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca