COCHRANE— Celebrating the positive impacts youth can have in a community, Cochrane RCMP and Cochrane and Area Victim Services have teamed up to reward good behaviour in the community.
Victim Services support coordinator Tamara Low was on hand for the launch of the Positive Ticket Program at the Zero Gravity Skatepark on Tuesday (July 20). The program will be running all summer and is geared toward celebrating youth in the community who practice beneficial activities.
“We hope to catch kids being awesome,” Low said. “We need this. It’s been a rough year and a bit, so I think we need some positive cheer in the community is needed to support our youth.”
During the program, Cochrane RCMP, Victim Services and other community agencies will be on the lookout to reward youth engaging in activities that benefit the community and themselves with a ticket for fun prizes including tablets, Nintendo game consoles, Fitbits and more. The prizes will be drawn on Sept. 1.
The positive tickets were made possible by major sponsor Kendra Watt of CIR Realty and are accompanied with treat coupons that allow youth to receive free goodies from MacKay’s Ice Cream, McDonald's and Dairy Queen.
Any young people spotted demonstrating good deeds including personal safety, positive actions or showcasing optimistic behaviour will be rewarded with a ticket.
The goal of the campaign is to build relationships with youth through positive interactions and introduce young people to the friendly face of the RCMP.
To help celebrate the launch of the program Victim Services’ Buddy the trauma support robot helped announce the campaign. Buddy is a tool used to help support children through the police and court process. The robot also visits schools in the area with RCMP to provide presentations on safety.
“Kids just love him,” Low said.
Cochrane RCMP Cpl. Troy Savinkoff said the youth engagement campaign will involve bike patrol members looking to connect with Cochrane young people. The goal is to conduct several bike patrols in the community over the summer.
Tickets issued to the youth will include details on the special positive action undertaken by the young person.
“Although they will be doing actual enforcement to make sure the community is safe, they’re also going to be doing the positive ticket campaign,” Savinkoff said. “If they see youth engaged in something that is positive in the community, they’ll write them one of these positive tickets.”
The skatepark is a constructive hub for youth in the community and served as the perfect place to launch the campaign as it allows RCMP to connect with Cochrane's young people.
Coming out of COVID-19 a major goal for the RCMP is re-establishing community connections— This is especially important when it comes to Cochrane youth.
In 2020 Cochrane RCMP saw a sharp increase in mental health calls, Savinkoff said. He added many of these calls involved young people in the community.
“Mental health is important and I think the RCMP has an important role to play in that,” Savinkoff said. "It's about getting out there and doing something positive.”
He hopes to see the program help build community connections while reminding youth they have people and organizations to turn to when they experience languishing mental health.
“If you can make positive connections early it has long-lasting effects on youth,” Savinkoff said.