By Sam Skopp
On Saturday, February 25, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica played host to a cool event that united many in the community: “Teens and Law Enforcement Together as One.” The day-long program aimed to place law enforcement officers from a wide variety of backgrounds together with local teens in an educational and fun capacity, including chances to learn about different law enforcement professions and participate in communal games.
“Every year we have this thing called Teen Summit and it’s fun and awesome. So why not have a Youth and Law Enforcement Summit?” said teenager Connor Young, who organized the event and is Keystone president at the Boys & Girls Clubs.
The Keystone Club, which is a program held nationwide through the Boys & Girls Club of America, aims to teach and provide leadership opportunities for teens aged 14 to 18, holding a national conference once a year. As a member and President within the clubs, Young acted as head of the event.
“We want to show that these officers are people too,” said Young.
He explained that, in putting together a day for teens and law enforcement officers to interact with one another, teens were given a chance to see the humanity in the men and women serving in law enforcement, whereas typically, most impressions of law enforcement officers come straight from the media. Events and activities included a traffic stop roleplay scenario, obstacle courses, jeopardy and a panel with representatives of a broad range of law enforcement jobs, including cadets, detectives, explorers and more.
The event began in the morning with a breakfast for all participants and included lunch, before culminating in a game of jump ball between the dozens of teens and many local law enforcement officers.
“Everybody’s participating and the officers are having a great time,” said Young. “It’s been phenomenal.”
For more information about the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica, visit smbgc.org.