For the 4th year in a row, ProAction is proud to have supported the Durham River Adventure program. This 3 day program allowed 9 youth and 3 Durham police officers to camp and go white water rafting on the Ottawa River. The youth gained team building skills, under the guidance of the officers, as they worked together to conquer the rapids and paddle down the river together. Back at the campsite, some of the youth would step up by taking the lead on tasks and helping their peers with different challenges. It was great to see the youth, who were encountering problems with gangs, drugs, alcohol, family and financial issues, grow personally, socially, and gain more confidence in a positive and safe environment.
The program highlights the success of one youth in particular, C. Z., who was referred to the program from her school counsellor. Her dislike of the police was changed through this program as she learned to appreciate their presence and considered them her mentors. C.Z. was able to overcome difficult circumstances through the program, helping her family deal with issues of drug addiction and providing care to a special needs sibling. C.Z. came into the program with social anxiety and left with a social ferocity, with a boost of confidence making her unafraid of the world. She mentioned that because of the relationships she formed she was able to come out of depression, and no longer resorted to drug use. C.Z was able to develop leadership and team work skills and was recently hired by the Durham Police Service as a student.
Success stories like C.Z’s are the reason why ProAction programs like the Durham River Adventure exist. Thank you to PC Stefanie Puckrin, from the Durham Police who was inspired to create this program 6 years ago after participating in another ProAction program and seeing first-hand the difference it was making in the lives of youth.