The VPD Cadet Program, proudly funded by the Vancouver Police Foundation and its generous donors, is now accepting applications from Vancouver teens entering Grade 10, 11 or 12, living in or attending school in Vancouver, to join VPD Cadets Class 10 beginning in September 2023.
The Cadet program provides teens, many of which are vulnerable youth with high-risk backgrounds, volatile family situations, and/or are refugees, with an intensive and inspiring program that is truly life changing. Over 28 weeks from September to May, the VPD Cadet Program offers a unique opportunity for youth to participate in applied educational workshops, physical training, recreational activities, community service, and drill. They will also get an inside look at different police units, including the Marine Unit, Mounted Squad, Canine Unit, Traffic Section, and Gang Crime Unit, to understand how they work together to serve and protect Vancouver residents. It is through all these teachings and experiences that Cadets will also learn life skills to help them become a leaders in the community, assist them in navigating difficult decisions, and learn how to set and achieve goals. Inevitably, Cadets will also make lifelong friendships with fellow cadets, who will become like a second family.
We were lucky to chat with four current VPD Cadets to learn more about their own experience in the program – and what they would say to others who may consider applying for Class 10 in September.
CADET MALEK KHALLAF
Windermere Secondary, Grade 10
Number of Years in Cadets: One
“I’ve always had an interest in policing and once I found out about the Cadet program I applied. My experience so far had been amazing, it has truly taught me how to never give up. Joining VPD Cadets requires a commitment of time and effort. It is important to understand the expectations and responsibilities of being a Cadet, which may include showing up occasionally on weekdays, community events, and other commitments. There are also many benefits that include gaining valuable life skills, practical knowledge, going on field trips, as well as opportunities for personal growth. Also the friends that you will make in cadets is unlike anything you will ever experience.”
CADET SGT PAULINE VILLAVICENCIO
Gladstone Secondary, Grade 12
Number of Years in Cadets: Two
“I decided to join Cadets because I wanted to challenge myself to do something new and meet new people – because I wasn’t really a people person. I was considering a career in law enforcement and thought that joining Cadets would be a perfect opportunity for me to learn more about this route. I have indeed become more comfortable as I further developed strong leadership skills that helped me in bettering myself. These skills that I have learned have and will continue to be helpful throughout my life. To anyone thinking about joining the Cadets, I would say take the chance and go for it. You’re leading yourself to be in the right place with the right people.”
CADET AISH INDRAN
David Thompson Secondary, Grade 11
Number of Years in Cadets: One
“The reason I joined the VPD Cadets was primarily because I was looking to gain more knowledge in the field of law enforcement as it interests me in terms of a future career path. And the more I learned more about the program, the idea of broadening my horizon drove me to apply. Before joining, I spent my Saturdays at home and would let the day pass by while I scrolled through social media. That was my reality as a result of how the pandemic affected my day-to-day life. I grew more comfortable with being isolated from people and not getting any exercise, which in turn impacted my physical and mental health. Eventually, I came to view Cadets as reason to get out of my house, work on my overall well-being, and to form many friendships along the way.
“I’ve grown exponentially as a person since joining Cadets. I often used to hold myself back from trying activities that I felt incapable of carrying out, but Cadets has taught me to break through the limits I created for myself. In doing so, there were times I succeeded with the task at hand and didn’t succeed. When I was unsuccessful, I learned to not beat myself up over it but to evaluate the amount of effort I put into it because a core value this program this program instilled in me was to not to be the best, but to do my best.
“VPD Cadets has also given me the opportunity to experience so many activities that I wouldn’t usually get the chance to do. I went to camp for the first time in years, tried snow tubing and snow shoeing for the first time, I’ve witnessed a canoe awakening ceremony, and more. Throughout all of this, I met an amazing group of instructors who I look up to as mentors and created many life-long friendships. VPD Cadets allowed me to meet a second family.
“If someone else was considering applying for Cadets, I say Do it! It is an experience that you will never be able to compare to anything else. You meet many like-minded people your age and are able discover your true potential as a person. It may not be easy to not wake up early on a Saturday, but it always ends up being worth it.”
CADET SGT ARYAN GAUTAM
John Oliver Secondary, Grade 11
Number of Years in Cadets: Two
“After hearing many positive things about the program from a friend, I chose to apply for Cadets because I was looking for a program that would help me challenge myself and grow as an individual. I was seeking an environment where I could develop leadership skills, learn the importance of teamwork, and gain a strong sense of discipline.
“My experience in Cadets has been incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. From day one, I felt welcomed and supported by my fellow cadets, constables, and the others who make this program possible. I have learned so much, all while making meaningful connections and friendships with other like-minded individuals. The opportunities I’ve had to participate in community events have been meaningful to me, and I feel proud to have been part of them. Overall, I feel that my time in Cadets has helped me develop important life skills, given me a strong sense of purpose, and helped me grow into a more confident and capable person.
“If you’re considering joining Cadets, I think it’s definitely worth exploring. From my own experience, I can say that it’s been a great way to develop important skills and also get involved in community service and make a positive impact in your local area. For me, the physical fitness training has been both challenging and rewarding, and it’s really helped me to improve my overall health and mental toughness. And of course, there’s the chance to meet new people and build meaningful friendships with other Cadets who share your interests and values. I’ve found that being part of this supportive community has been one of the most rewarding aspects of the program.”
We would like to sincerely thank Malek, Pauline, Aish, and Aryan for sharing their personal stories about Cadets with us. As you can see through their experiences, it is through the Cadet program that teens are able to build personal confidence and experience self-growth that they might not have thought was even possible. Since the program launched in 2014, the VPD Cadet program has impacted more than 450 Vancouver teens.
The VPD Cadets are currently accepting applications from Vancouver teens entering Grade 10, 11 and 12 to join Class 10 which begins in September 2023.
Deadline to apply is May 26, 2023.
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.