In November of 2005, Sgt. Mark Linnell and Cst. Richard Huculiak started the Hobbema Community Cadets program as a proactive response to youth gang issues plaguing the area. Since its introduction, the program’s success has continued to go above any beyond expectation – success which is largely based on active community leaders, the police, parents, schools, eager and bright participants and strong financial assistance.
1064 cadets are currently registered and participant results can’t go unnoticed. According to their website, attendance and grades of those enrolled in the program have increased by an 80 per cent while minor youth crime has dropped by 80 per cent. As the program continues to grow, so does the opportunity to travel and members of the program, who work on building social development skills in preparation for future leadership positions and challenges in the community under the direction of trained mentors, are currently preparing to embark on an exciting adventure in another country.
On Wednesday, April 8, 30 Hobbema cadets, along with along with Sgt. Mark Linell and Cst. Richard Huculiak, will board a plane bound for Spanish Town, Jamaica to take part in the International Police Cadet Exchange Program. They will spend ten days in Jamaica with its national inter-school brigade that began nine years ago in response to gangs and violence as have experienced similar success as well. The Hobbema cadets are very excited about getting the opportunity to embark on a trip of this magnitude, and if all goes well, it is possible that yearly international trips may become a norm. Highlights from the impressive itinerary planned are as follows.
Upon arriving at the Montego Bay Airport on April 9, the cadets will be taken to the Jamaica Police Academy where they will reside for the duration of their stay to best suite security related concerns. After getting time to freshen up, the team will be taken to Eltham High where they will participate in a welcoming dinner with dignitaries.
The next day, cadets will be taken to the cadet Headquarters at 37 Young St., Spanish Town, St. Catherine where they will meet all the Unite Commanders of the National Interschool Brigade. This visit will be followed by a tour of the historically and culturally rich Arawack Museum. On Saturday, Apr. 11 cadets will join he members of nib for a dress rehearsal at the Jamaica Police Academy prior to participating in a tour of the training compound. Here, they will be given a briefing on crime scene investigation in Jamaica while Sunday, April 4 is dedicated to a day of fun filled activities, education, a visit to the prestigious Devon’s House located in Kingston. On Monday, April 13 the cadets will spend the day at Dunn’s River falls in Park in St. Ann amongst an array of other planned activities and on Tuesday, April 14, they will tour the Historical City of Spanish Town and will have a courtesy call of the Mayor followed by another tour and courtesy call of the Canadian High Commission in Jamaica. On Wednesday and Thursday, the team will take part on an overnight hike in the beautiful Blue Mountains, followed by spending the day diligently preparing for the anniversary parade. On Friday, April 17 the cadets will take part in the Founders Day Parade and celebrations and after the parade, visitors will be escorted to join the members of the Jamaican Brigade for a farewell dinner at the Spanish Treasure Hotel before resting up for the long flight home scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
For more information about the cadets and they have achieved thus far, visit www.hobbemacadets.net.
The entire visit will receive media cover from major television stations in Jamaica, and reporters from CBC will be attending to provide a live feed on location. Ponoka News has also been granted the opportunity to exclusively cover this event in print in support of this program and the amazing results it has produced, along with impact it has and will continue to generate in Hobbema and across the province, country and world.