Police children’s summer programme underway
July 26, 2011
Police children’s summer programme underway

As the summer holidays progress, parents everywhere long for the school bell to ring again, so that their children’s complaints of boredom will be silenced.{{more}}

In the meantime, the Royal SVG Police Force has taken up the mantle of dispelling some of that boredom with its month-long children’s summer programme.

Now in its fourth year of operation, the summer programme began on Monday, July 18, and so far has 76 registered participants.

On Wednesday, July 20, the 38 members of the RSVG Police Force Band had their hands full, coaching the exuberant bunch in playing various musical instruments, which included drums, steel pan, trumpet, keyboard and piano, guitar and saxophone.

Station Sergeant Bernard Haynes, who is also the RSVG Police Force band master, said that many of the participants this year are no strangers to the programme – which caters for 9 – 15 year-olds.

One such is 13-year-old Chrislon Fraser, who attends the St. Vincent Grammar School.

When SEARCHLIGHT visited the Police Band Room at Largo Heights, Chrislon was the lone participant receiving coaching in trumpet playing from PC Cemal Gordon.

“My mom thought I should do something to occupy my time [last year]… and ever since then I have liked the trumpet,” he beamed, before launching into a rendition of ‘When the Saints go Marching In’.

Chrislon said that this was his second year attending the summer programme, which is undoubtedly a testament to the programme’s effectiveness. Not to mention the fact that Chrislon was sporting a cast on his right foot – even with a broken foot, he was not about to let the fun pass him by!

And that seems to be exactly what this year’s participants are having. They were a bit on the shy side when it came to expressing their feelings about the summer camp, but it showed – the smiles etched across their faces far outshone the sweat glistening on their brows.

Station Sergeant Haynes said that he believes the programme helps children to expand their mental capacities and develop self-discipline, among other benefits.

“All in all, it seems to be good for them… in terms of commitment and punctuality,” he asserted. “It keeps them in check!”

Haynes also said that many past participants ended up playing musical intruments in their respective school bands.

He added: “Some of them have even said that they are doing better in school.”

And on the flip side, Haynes said that he is confident that this is preparing many of his fellow officers for parenthood.

“It puts more responsibility on them. Dealing with so many children is quite strenuous… challenging!”

And this is something that PC Cuthbert Lee, who teaches guitar, agrees with.

“You have to be smart when dealing with children,” he opined.

Lee said that when his ‘students’ complain that strumming the guitar strings is tough on their fingers, he reminds them of the satisfaction they will get when they perform for their proud parents at the closing ceremony.

A new addition to the programme this year is the introduction of cricket and football in the day’s activities – a move spearheaded by Commissioner of Police Keith Miller.

The summer programme runs from Monday to Friday, 9 am until midday, and there is a $10 registration fee. It will come to a close on Saturday, August 20.