Aboriginal youth connect with OPP

ROUND LAKE – While Camp Niigan Mosewak “Walking Forward” wrapped up last week, the memories between area officers and local aboriginal youth will live on for many years to come. 
The one week long camp, now in its fifth year, takes place in different locations annually. This is the first time it was held at Camp Mishewah, located just outside of Round Lake Centre. 
On August 29, the camp concluded with a Youth Fun Challenge. The youth had the opportunity to take part in a variety of games like rock climbing, stand-up paddle boarding and tightrope walking. 
Constable Merisol Primeau is with the East Region Provincial Liaison team and has been involved since the camp’s first year. She said the program focuses on the delivery of key life skills, leadership development, healthy relationships and positive self-esteem all based on traditional cultural teachings. 
“We just thought it was a fantastic way to bring youth into contact with police officers in a positive, fun environment,” she said. “They get to see police officers as people who like to have fun, too.”
A total of 43 aboriginal youth between the ages of 11-16 took part in the camp. The kids live in the OPP eastern region service areas and are of Inuit, Metis, Algonquin, Ojibwa and Haudenosaunee background. 
“We have kids from all across Renfrew County, and kids from as far away as the Kingston area,” Primeau said.
During the school year, the Provincial Liaison Team goes to schools and friendship centres to encourage kids to apply for the camp. 
“I find we are getting a lot of the younger brothers and sisters of the previous campers,” Primeau said. “Word is getting out there about our camp and it is growing in popularity.”
Story continues in the September 4, 2013 issue of The Valley Gazette.