Getting out into the community and promoting safety, awareness and the aboriginal culture is the focus of RCMP Qalipu summer students working with the detachments in Stephenville and Corner Brook.
Whitney Hynes, who is working with Ashtyn McLean at the Bay St. George detachment in Stephenville, said this is her first year with the program and the two already have lots of presentations booked and events planned for the summer.
Some of the events will be bike rodeos, including one at the town hall in Stephenville and one with the Green Team in Flat Bay and possibly two others.
Hynes said they have a safety day planned with The Bookworms in Stephenville and safety tips with seniors at the town hall in Stephenville Crossing. There’s also a presentation for children at the Family Resources Centre in Stephenville called “Don’t Talk to Strangers.”
The two will also travel to Lourdes and do a detective day with The Bookworms program in that community.
Hynes said it was just last year that she started to learn more about her aboriginal culture while she was working at the Mi’kmaq Museum in St. George’s for the summer and is now hoping to learn even more by participating in several cultural events around the Bay St. George area, including being at the powwow in Flat Bay over the weekend.
“We’re really going to try and incorporate promoting the Mi’kmaq culture more into our program this year,” she said.
Hynes has native ancestry on both sides of her family. She completed her second year in psychology in the spring and is looking into working with troubled youth as her career.
Olivia Sheppard, who is working with Scott Walsh at the Corner Brook detachment, said the two are pretty well doing the same types of activities as the Stephenville workers.
She said they will be attending several community festivals and are planning on doing a lot on bicycle safety.
Sheppard attended the Bay St. George Powwow in on the weekend, her first time to such an event, and said she loved it.
“This is a good experience and it’s very interesting to find out how closely you’re related to people through your aboriginal background and how, not so many years ago, they could survive with so few resources,” she said.
Sheppard said she is proud to be involved in spreading awareness of the aboriginal culture through her summer job.
The students, who will be in their positions until Aug. 22, are available to give presentations on various topics, including bike safety, fraud prevention, senior safety and other topics.
The summer students can be reached by calling the Bay St. George RCMP detachment at 643-2118, or the Corner Brook RCMP detachment at 637-4433.