On Friday August 12, 28 Indigenous youth from across Alberta celebrated their hard work and success in the Soaring Eagles Indigenous Youth Camp this past week.
Last held in 2019, Alberta RCMP state the camp is designed to simulate the same intellectual and physical training regular RCMP members receive in Depot. It introduces Indigenous youth to a career in law enforcement, emergency response and community involvement.
The week-long camp had the 16 to 19-year-old participants engage in morning fitness and food drills and every afternoon they had interactive presentations with officers of different RCMP units including the Emergency Response Team, Police Dog Services, Explosive Disposal Unit and Forensic Identification Services.
“Knowing that exceptional young adults like these are interested in a career in policing reassures me that the future of policing is bright,” says commanding officer of the Alberta RCMP, Deputy Commissioner Curtis Zablocki.
Const. Annick Carignan says that to her the most rewarding part of the process was watching the smile on the youth’s faces when they did their last march on Friday in front of their peers and family. She says to her if just one youth decides by the end of camp that they want to pursue a further career with the RCMP it is all worth it and based on this year’s group she suspects she will see more than one become a member of the RCMP in the future.
Participant Kayley Quinney-Cardinal, 20, of Cold Lake says that she’s never experienced the kind of friendships and connections that she has during her week at the camp.
Quinney-Cardinal says that although the drills were physically and mentally tough, nothing was more rewarding than accomplishing a task the group worked for together and celebrating each other’s success afterwards.
“It really motivated us to be part of the RCMP family,” she says.
Her grandfather and best friend came out to watch her graduation and Quinney-Cardinal says that there was nothing but pride and happiness to be felt during that last parade.
“I felt very proud, like we earned it.”