Vancouver Police Foundation Help Us Build Safer Communities
Help Us Build a Safer Community

Building Friendships along the Journey

Group Photo

One of the annual grants proudly funded by the Foundation is the “Pulling Together Journey” event.  This July, over 60 Aboriginal youths, including 10 VPD Cadets, Vancouver Police Officers, and other participants, join together to travel for nine days in canoes along B.C. rivers.  Often times First Nation youth do not embrace their background, particularly in an urban environment.  This life-changing journey instills not only cultural pride, but teaches valuable life-lessons, leadership skills, and new friendships are formed.

Inspector Howard Tran of the VPD Youth Services went along on the journey this year and he wrote to us about his firsthand account of the experience.

“New friendships were forged during this journey between the Cadets and other First Nations youth, in particular, those in our partner families in the Collingwood Neighborhood House, Musqueam and UNYA (Urban Native Youth Association). We tell everyone coming on the journey that while the focus is always the journey on the water, there are two other journeys that are just as important: the journey that occurs on land where we all try to co-exist harmoniously, and the journey within each of us to overcome our physical and mental challenges and push forward despite a lack of sleep and aching muscles. The latter are often much more challenging and this is where we have seen the most growth from our Cadets”.

Every evening, everyone came together and held regular “circles”.  This was an opportunity for everyone involved to share their stories, their struggles, and to listen to others.

Some of the VPD Cadets had these things to say:

  • The journey was an amazing experience that changed my perspective on First Nations people.
  • I never truly embraced my background for various reasons, one of which is shame. Pulling Together changed my view and now proud to identify as being First Nations.
  • The friends and memories I’ve made on these journeys are the forever type. We were strangers when we met and parted as friends.

This event allows VPD members and aboriginal youth to build healthier relationships and have a better understanding of each other.   Members of the VPD have noted they have improved, more optimistic interactions with the youth on a regular basis and have become further educated on how to interact. Equally, the youth have a more open dialogue with VPD officers. This journey changes the dynamic between VPD officers and aboriginal youth to one of mutual respect.

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Vancouver Police Foundation

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