Spots filled up quickly for a two-day bootcamp for children during spring break this past week.

Springfield Police Chief Steve Hitchon thought they might get around 25 children participating in the Emergency Services Bootcamp. He prepared for 50 children and was surprised when there were 87 names on the list.

They could only accommodate 50 children and Hitchon says it was unfortunate that they had to turn away the rest of the kids. He plans to run this bootcamp again and will prepare for 100 participants next time.

This bootcamp was held for two full days and involved several guest speakers.

Bootcamp kicked off Monday morning with a presentation/demonstration from the CF Provost Marshal /Grand Prévôt des FC (The Canadian Forces Military Police). The afternoon was filled with a lot of learning from the Springfield Fire and Rescue Service and Motor Carrier officers from Manitoba Infrastructure.

second day of bootcamp, the children were asked to report what they learned from the previous day. Hitchon says the kids remembered that there was an emphasis on teamwork.

“When we did the jogging around the building five times, we told the kids ’You stay together as a team; you don’t leave the slowest child behind.’ And when we asked them the second day, ‘what did you learn yesterday?’ A lot of them said ‘teamwork, stay together as a team, work together as a team.’ and that’s a huge thing for kids of that age to realize you work together as a team.”

Day 2 involved presentations from Manitoba Conservation Officers and a Birds Hill Park Interpreter to talk about the role of Conservation Officers, have them show off some of their kit and teach kids about wild animal safety. Smokey the Bear even made an appearance.

Next, RCMP Police Dog Services provided a demonstration and presentation of two police service dogs.

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As an extra treat, the Fire Rescue Service got paged out to a call while everyone was in the firehall, and the children were able to watch emergency responders go to work.

Finally, the kids learned all about important skills required to be a detective and went on a journey to find the stolen cookies. They followed evidence and discovered the culprit was Buster the fire mannequin.

Bootcamp a huge success

Springfield Police Service is on a mission to connect with the communities they serve and to build relationships, especially with young people.

For the chief, he says a highlight of this event was to see children view police officers in a positive light.

“They see that we are there running around with them, having fun with them.”

And for children to express their new view of police officers, that means the most to Hitchon.

“One little girl said to me, ‘you’re not scary like I thought you were going to be.’”

Hitchon explains that most people only see police officers during rough times which can make it difficult to have a positive view of them.

He says that alone made the whole event worth it.

Springfield Police Services will hold a bike rodeo in May and Hitchon says they are already gearing up for another day of fun and education.

(All photos courtesy:

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