What do you want to accomplish? When designing your program, keep in mind what you would like to accomplish. What is the goal you want to achieve? For example:
- Strengthening relationships between police officers and youth
- Building trust
- Promote a positive image of police
- Stimulate personal development
Keeping your objectives at the forefront during the planning process will increase your opportunities for success. The expectation for one day programs is a ratio no greater than 50 youth to one officer and for weekend-long programs is 20 youth to one officer.
Cost effectiveness: There are many activities that can be done inexpensively and with little equipment, such as a hiking trip. A hiking trip requires little cost, while still having many positive elements. Youth spend the day outdoors, visit an area they’ve never been to, and interact with you in a meaningful and non-intimidating environment.
Inclusivity: When designing your program, think about who you would like to see participate. Also think about how your program might present barriers for involvement. For example, a hiking trip is a cost effective activity and it is also inclusive, because no special skills are required to participate. With some sports programs, such as hockey, certain skills may be required in order for youth to participate (i.e. skating). This may limit the number of youth who can participate, as the youth you are targeting may not possess those skills or they may not be sports inclined.
Length of the Program: While community events such as Divisional barbecues and Open Houses increase the visibility of police in the community, these one day events limit the amount of one on one interaction that police have with youth. The most successful ProAction programs are those that build a relationship between police and youth over a significant amount of time and, as such, one day events are limited to a maximum amount of funding.
Storage: If you are running a program that requires a significant amount of equipment, storage may be an issue in between games and practices or in your off-season. Please consider the necessary storage requirements you will need when choosing your activity.
Where can I run my program?
There are many options for locations to run your program, depending on the type of program you create. You can approach schools, churches, and community centres for indoor space. If you have established a partnership with them, they are usually very happy to assist in any way they can and can provide the space that you need.