We got started right away once the girls had filled out their dues books, beginning with our horseshoe and the promise.
The first part of the meeting was spent covering the Law Awareness Badge. We learned all about the training needed to apply to become a police officer, and also the OPP-specific training. One of the questions the girls asked was about the different ranks, and we found out that in the OPP, officers can progress from Recruit to Constable (5th through 1st Class), then Sergeant, Staff Sergeant, Inspector, Superintendent and finally, Commissioner. Constable LeClair then went through all of the equipment a police officer carries, showing the girls how the different items work (where appropriate) and explaining what they are used for.The girls asked lots of questions about what pepper spray did and how it felt, and thought it was cool to see how a tazer (electrodes removed) works. How to contact the police in an emergency (call 911) was covered, as well as what constitutes an emergency, and when the regular police department phone number should be used. We reviewed local laws in our community and how to respond to different situations, including someone coming to the door when you're home alone, a stranger offering you a ride, witnessing an accident, and finding the aftermath of a crime. Some time was spent covering internet safety and the importance of keeping your personal information private and keeping your parents informed about what you are doing online. The final piece for this section was how things you do when you are young can have an impact later in life - specifically, how having a criminal record can impact where you can go to school, the jobs you can get, and even where you can live. The girls were surprised that as Girl Guide leaders we have to have a police records check every three years!
We took a break for an active game (Everybody's It Tag) as everyone was getting a bit restless before moving on to the second part of our meeting.
During the second part of our meeting we learned about bicycle safety in preparation for warmer weather. We found out about the importance of wearing a helmet (other than the fact that it's the law!) and what a properly equipped bicycle should have - reflectors, bell or horn, reflective tape. As a group we practice the different hand signals that cyclists use to let drivers know the direction they are intending to go and if they are planning to stop, and reviewed the different traffic signals in our community. The girls were surprised that they are supposed to obey traffic signs, such as stop signs, in the same way cars do. The final piece was learning about cycling etiquette and how to stay safe in different places, situations and weather conditions. To complete this badge, Guides will need to go for a bicycle ride and practice safe riding, signalling and cycling etiquette.
We ended with an active game and final questions before thanking Constable LeClair for coming. The evening closed with reminders for next week, handing out booklets and newsletters, and Taps.
Links and Downloads:
- Ontario Provincial Police (external link)
- Quick Facts for Parents - Learning About Online Safety (external PDF)
- Young Cyclist's Guide (MTO) (external PDF)