Wellington OPP now accepting applications for youth advisory committee

GUELPH – Applications are now being accepted for the Wellington County OPP’s youth advisory committee.

Following the ouster of school resource officers from Upper Grand District School Board classrooms last year, Wellington OPP decided to create an advisory committee as a way of connecting to area youth.

Police are hoping to attract at least two youth members, aged 14 to 20, from each of the county’s municipalities, up to a maximum of 20 members.

Applications, due by Sept. 1, can be made online on the County of Wellington website.

Applications can also be printed, filled, scanned, and submitted through email to opp.wellingtonyro@opp.ca, or dropped off at any of the OPP’s detachments in Centre Wellington, Guelph/Eramosa and Minto.

Applicants are asked for personal information, including social media handles, why they want to be a member, what clubs an applicant belongs to, and for two references.

In September, police will pick committee members from submissions received, with a first meeting planned for October.

Police are hoping the opportunity appeals to youth wanting to create a lasting impact within the county and have their voices heard.

Members will need to commit between two and three hours per month, between October and June, with the hours able to be credited toward high school graduation requirements.

Meetings will have an educational component with a presentation made by police to members on topics chosen by youth and officers, such as cyber bullying and sexting.

“Maybe it’s what to expect on a traffic stop,” Wellington OPP community safety and services sergeant Corrie Trewartha suggested while presenting to the county’s Police Services Board on June 8.

“We know as frontline officers that when we stop youth, they’re scared, they don’t know why we stopped them, they don’t know where their paperwork is, they don’t know any of that sort of stuff, so some fun stuff like that.”

Trewartha previously told the Advertiser she’s interested to see how the committee will grow and what topics will be of interest over time.

To instil leadership and provide something to work toward, Trewartha said committee members, with the guidance of officers, will also organize an event next May, with room for creativity on what type of event to plan.

“We really do want to be the resource; we don’t want to be the leaders,” she said.