The Youth for Change and Inclusion (YCI) program is run by the Victoria Police Department. The first part of this project is an annual four-day conference which brings together 60-90 youth aged 13-17 years, representing a variety of ethnic, racial, religious and cultural backgrounds, to explore the issues surrounding hate and intolerance. This is done with financial support from the Victoria Police Department, Coast Capital Savings and the Victoria School District and the assistance of teachers, police officers and volunteers in a camp setting. The youth are separated into different groups and participate in workshops and discussions, which are designed to give the participants the necessary understanding and tools to combat the racism and intolerance they see around them. Several group-building exercises help break down barriers to communication and teach the youth to accept others. There are speakers from various ethnic groups to give a more personal perspective on the effects of racism and intolerance, which serves to move the issue to the heart. The youth develop action plans to implement upon returning to their schools which include such things as multicultural weeks. Youth representing each of the schools form a regional committee to connect and support each other in their initiatives. This group also organizes a one-day conference at the beginning of the school year called “Motivational Day.”
Our mission is to educate the youth around issues of racism, prejudice and stereotyping and show them the impact of their action and inaction. We motivate the youth to become leaders in responsible citizenship and provide them the desire and tools to undertake activities that will empower them to prevent conflict in their schools and communities.
The level of involvement has been cooperative.
This initiative has been in place since 2003.
The financial costs are covered and shared between the police department, the school district and Coast Capital Savings. In general (not including wages) Victoria Police Department supplies 60% of the funding, Coast Capital supplies 20% and the School District 61 supplies 20%.The costs fluctuate quite a bit depending on the number of students who attend and the fees charged. In general, the program costs around $15,000.
The first year the program was implemented started with a pilot project with funding from Canadian Heritage/Coast Capital. The program then migrated to the current funding model.
This project has a broad impact:
The key message of this initiative is “police working with youth to build leaders.”
The results of the evaluation are expressed in letters received from the youth as well as on reflection sheets filled out after each speaker.Sample excerpt from feedback:"I would also enjoy the connection that all us YCIer’s had with all the police force. Half the time I forgot you guys were police being that the stereotypical outlook on police are scary, mean, buff people. But this camp really made me realize that you guys are just like us and you really care about the community and our generation. Every time my mom passes a police car she cringes but I tell her about how nice you guys really are and not to fear! Haha my mom always gives me a strange look when I tell her that."