Four Sunshine Coast students will spend their spring break learning what it's like to be police officers at the RCMP Youth Academy.
Tristan Stockwell, Taylor Lavale, Emily Marshall and Nolan O'Reilly made it through the Sunshine Coast RCMP interviews and fitness training to secure a spot in the academy that's known for pushing cadets to their limit.
"This academy is not for the faint of heart," the North Vancouver RCMP youth academy website states. "The 50 students from five school districts are on the go from 5:30 a.m. to lights out at 10:30 p.m. every day of the academy. It is a gruelling schedule."
The week-long course is divided into three parts: physical training, drill and police theory.
Pitched to students on the Coast by constables Ben Stewart and Ashley Taylor of the Sunshine Coast RCMP, the academy near Cultus Lake is meant to give a taste of life in law enforcement.
"Law enforcement work is very demanding and no two days are ever the same. The academy attempts to give a brief representation of some of those scenarios," the academy website states. "Students observe and then role-play several scenarios including mock demonstrations of domestic violence, break and enters, traffic violations, arrests, searches and even a mock court."
Local students in grades 11 and 12 were excited to take part when they contacted Coast Reporter earlier this week.
From Elphinstone, 17-year-old Nolan said he wanted to get involved to see what training for a police officer would be like.
He's been getting prepared with regular runs, along with other local cadets, and said that, "I believe I am prepared, but I'm sure it will still be an eye opener."
From Chatelech Secondary School, 16-year-old Emily said she's been interested in police work for a long time and wanted to sign up for the academy because it "sounded like a challenge."
Although she's been training physically for the academy since November of last year, she said wasn't sure exactly what to expect, "so I could be in for a surprise."
Const. Taylor said all of the cadets have greatly improved their fitness over the past three months of training.
Each of them has shed over one minute off their 2.4 km run, which we're very pleased with. It's now time to put their training to the test," she said.
In a place where everything will be new, the cadets will have a familiar face this year in Const. Taylor, who will serve as a platoon leader.
"This is the first time a member of the Sunshine Coast RCMP has attended youth academy," Const. Taylor said. "I'm really looking forward to going,but I must admit, I am worried about havingflashbacks ofmy cadet trainingseven years ago."
The experience will be trying, but how students handle the ups and downs will be a good indication if they should continue in the field.
Seventeen-year-old Tristan from Chatelech plans to use the experience to nail down her career path.
"I thought it would be a good way of finding out if this is the career I would like to follow," she said.
Chatelech's 16-year-old Taylor also plans to use the experience to "see if this is really what I want to do with my life."
Students are at the academy now and will return on March 21.
Most expenses for the academy have been covered by a donation of $2,100 from the Rotary Club of Sechelt and an $800 donation from the Rotary Club of Gibsons.
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