Chalk outlines of bodies in various poses cover the sidewalk in front of the Quesnel & District Arts and Recreation Centre today (July 28), but the location is far from the scene of a gruesome crime.
The Quesnel RCMP is hosting its annual Kids Camp, with children age five to 12 finding out what it’s like to be a mountie.
Groups of children march past the front of the building, practising their drills and counting off in sequence while their commanding officer marches alongside them Another group gets their fingerprints on paper inside, while another attempts a daunting obstacle course.
Around 40 participants are split into four groups, each led by a local RCMP officer who is volunteering time to the one-day camp. The kids will be trying out other activities including evidence gathering, marching drills, Nerf-gun shooting and handcuffing, with other highlights include getting to sit in a real police car and try out the sirens, and simulating using pepper spray with cans of silly string.
Constable Josh Nutley says six officers have volunteered to help lead the camp, with five or six volunteers from community policing helping out as well. The camp has run most summers in Quesnel for a number of years.
Cst. Nutley says it’s about giving back to the community.
“We can take the kids off the hands of parents for a day, give them a breather. And it’s a good chance for some parents who maybe have some reservations against [the RCMP] to bring the kids out and have some fun and see we’re not so bad,” he explains.
The children are given snacks and lunch, and Cst. Nutley lets the Observer in on a little secret: frozen treats are in store for the young ones, to reward their hard work in the heat.
“Today we have freezies for the afternoon, because it’s supposed to be so darn hot.”
At the end of the day camp, participants will receive a certificate and shake hands with their officer, as well as the Safety Bear mascot.