Lethbridge Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Ti­jana Martin Fol­low @TMart­inHer­ald on Twit­ter

There are thou­sands of lead­ers within our com­mu­nity and at least 500 of them are be­tween 10 and 11 years old. Grade 5 and 6 stu­dents across Al­berta have been able to help keep their class­mates and com­mu­ni­ties safe for 80 years thanks to the AMA School Safety Pa­trol pro­gram.

“It re­ally is a long-stand­ing his­tory of keep­ing our com­mu­ni­ties safe. They’re out be­ing lead­ers on the cross­walks and help­ing stu­dents get off the streets safely,” said Al­li­son Pike, re­gional co-or­di­na­tor for AMA School Safety Pa­trol.

Safety pa­trol vol­un­teers are out at the cross­walks, no mat­ter the weather, and just like a job, there are guide­lines.

“They have to make sure they show up to work on time; they have to show up to work ev­ery­day and they have to be ready to do their job,” Pike ex­plained.

Train­ing usu­ally takes place in Septem­ber and stu­dents are taught how to do their job safely and what to watch for.

They need to be aware of is­sues such as dis­tracted driv­ers.

“They have to be able to deal with sit­u­a­tions like that when the driv­ers are ap­proach­ing their cross­walks,” said Pike.

It’s a great learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, she added, “it re­ally does pre­pare them for the next stages of life.”

Pike joined the Leth­bridge Hur­ri­canes and mem­bers of the Leth­bridge Po­lice Ser­vice at the En­max Cen­tre on Tues­day to thank the hun­dreds of lo­cal pa­trollers. The Hur­ri­canes AMA School Safety Pa­trol Skat­ing Party was a way to cel­e­brate all their hard work.

Stu­dents took off their win­ter boots, strapped on their skates and joined the Hur­ri­canes on the ice.

The Hur­ri­canes are a sta­ple to the com­mu­nity, mak­ing them ob­vi­ous role mod­els for many stu­dents.

“Kids look up to you,” said Jake Elmer, who was named the Jan­uary ATB Cane in the Com­mu­nity Award win­ner on Mon­day. “If you come out here and spread some good mes­sages and just have some fun, it re­ally goes a long way for some of the kids.”

“I was stand­ing at cen­tre ice and I had a line prob­a­bly 50 peo­ple deep, just wait­ing for an au­to­graph and pic­ture and that goes for ev­ery player here,” he added.

Not only did the event pro­vide stu­dents with a day of fun, but it also al­lowed the Hur­ri­canes to show their grat­i­tude.

“We’re away from home and we’re kind of new to Leth­bridge, so when these peo­ple come out and cheer for us dur­ing the games, it kind of makes it feel like home.”

Their fans, he said, are one of the most im­por­tant as­pects of the game, which is why they em­brace the chance to en­gage with the com­mu­nity.

“I can see in the smiles of these kids that ev­ery­body is hav­ing fun,” said Elmer, not­ing it was an added bonus they were on the ice.

“The more peo­ple that we get skat­ing or play­ing hockey, the bet­ter.”

Just like the pa­trol pro­gram, hockey helps teach some im­por­tant skills.

“It teaches com­mu­nity, it teaches pas­sion and it teaches team­work,” Elmer ex­plained.

Whether they choose to pur­sue hockey or not, he hopes they con­tinue to stay ac­tive and em­brace the out­doors.

“If you can just get out, maybe go for walk — do some­thing — it re­ally goes a long way for your men­tal health and also your phys­i­cal health. It’s a very im­por­tant as­pect of these kids’ lives and mine, too.”

Her­ald photo by Ti­jana Martin @TMart­inHer­ald

Leth­bridge Hur­ri­canes player Jake Elmer, cen­tre, signs the sweater of a young AMA school safety pa­troller, while Keltie Jer­iLeon gets on the ice to sign a pair of skates dur­ing the AMA Leth­bridge Hur­ri­canes and School Safety Pa­trol Skate Day at the En­max Cen­tre on Tues­day.

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