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Strength in Adversity

As you may recall from our August Newsletter, we wrote about this year’s Pulling Together Canoe Journey. The Canoe families arrived in Sechelt to start their journey, including 34 members of the Vancouver Police family and 200+ youth, including some VPD Cadets.  We recently received a copy of some correspondence written by one of the young participants and want to share it with our Members.

This is an incredibly rewarding trip and the Foundation is extremely proud to fund this important culture diversity experience.  The Foundation has funded this program since 2004. As you can tell from Karm, it truly makes a difference:

As I sat in the canoe for the very first time, I could tell that there was a hidden energy flowing through it. It was the day before we were to begin the journey and we had taken the VPD canoe Nchu’7mut down to Vanier Park for a practice paddle. As a brand-new canoe family we lifted the canoe into the water and I could tell that it was the beginning of a very special journey. Over the many days of the journey, we kept fatigue and heat stroke at bay with our laughter and teamwork. Every morning began with a new-found source of energy and positive outlook.

However, I experienced my own healing on the Journey. This year, I have been battling some of my own demons. Along with trying to complete my final year of high school successfully, the suicides of two of my cousins and having major surgery on my knee brought a pain into my life that I had never experienced before. At a point in time it almost felt as though nothing would be okay again. I thought the suffering would engulf me. So when I found out I had been offered the chance to go on the Pulling Together Journey I was both excited and nervous.

Being on the water and travelling alongside all these beautiful people reminded me that life is a cycle of death and rebirth. It reminded me of the importance of family and togetherness. It taught me that the sun truly does rise after the darkest of nights and that each day holds an infinite amount of potential to change and to be better. As my paddle would break the water and I felt the pull of the ocean against my muscles I thought of those I had lost this year. With each stroke I put the horrifying memories behind me and pulled myself into a peaceful state of mind. Without the Journey this year, I would’ve garnered the negative feelings that had been sitting inside my soul. I wouldn’t have had the experience of being able to let them go and to begin to move on with my life.

So, I want to thank my instructors, Constable Dave Jakeway and Constable Barb Bates for ensuring that all the cadets and I could receive the healing that we may have needed. They pushed us past our comfort zones yet ensured our safety at all times. Not only during the Pulling Together Journey, but all through out the past three years of my cadet experience they have poured their hearts into the program and it wouldn’t be the same without them. We all have created meaningful relationships with both instructors and quite frankly the cadet program wouldn’t have been the ground breaking program it is without them.

I wouldn’t trade my experience on the Pulling Together Journey for anything in this world, for it has changed me forever. – Karm


The Pulling Together Journey is one of the Foundation’s signature programs and if you would like to learn more or help support this program, please contact

The Vancouver Police Foundation supports programs and initiatives that fall under one of four pillars: Youth Programs, Mental Health & Addictions, Community Outreach & Engagement, and Technology & Special Equipment. You can help build a safer Vancouver by donating to the Vancouver Police Foundation.

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