It’s not every day young adults are provided with real life experience in their career field of choice. Imagine getting hands-on experience, first-hand knowledge and mentorship by veterans in the field of your choice. This would enable you to stand out from everyone else, to help you land your very first job. Now picture having all of that, on top of experiencing great, safe Scouting adventures. The 22nd Toronto Police Service Group does just that for their membership! It’s no wonder they were able to grow their Group by more than 100% over the last Scouting Year. Group Commissioner and Toronto police officer, Kevin Ward, took a moment to speak with Scouting Life to let us in on their Group growth efforts.
The 22nd Toronto Police Service Group is sponsored by the Toronto Police Service and works in partnership with Humber College. At the beginning of each new Scouting Year this Group approaches students at the college who are in the Police Foundations program.
Each year we present new students with an opportunity that will set them apart from everyone else when they go to apply for jobs in the future with the police service,” said Kevin. “The vast majority of youth in the program are newcomers, but with each year we’re seeing an increase in the number of returning members; we’re seeing a major growth in retention.
Every year they participate in regular activities that challenge their membership to try and do new things. Kevin let us know they’re often provided with the opportunity to do regular security at jamborees and other Scouting events in the region. In addition, they gain a lot of exposure working the Santa Claus parade and working with organizations such as MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) Canada. Perhaps one of the biggest highlights is the fact that they get to march alongside Toronto police officers in the Ontario Police Memorial Parade; a parade in which only sworn members of the police service are able to participate! “It’s neat because members of the 22nd Toronto Service Group are the only non-sworn in individuals who are allowed to march in this parade, so it’s a real sense of pride for the youth,” said Kevin.
Kevin suspects the increase in retention rates as of late also have something to do with the increase in epic Scouting activities they plan each year as a Group. Over the last year they’ve purchased over a dozen camping backpacks so that they can get out there and participate in more Scouting activities. For example, this past summer they went on a 100 km canoe trip in the back country of Algonquin Park! We were told it was a great success. See for yourself in their video which they submitted to the Out There Contest here: http://one.scouts.ca/OutThereContest/gallery/?contest=video-detail&video_id=295.