ON PATROL WITH THE HURRICANES
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.”
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.