Youth Flotilla

580 CFRA News Talk Radio by Sarah Anderson with Lauren Davis
Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Police, youth canoe down the Rideau Canal

For police and local Aboriginal youth, the Flotilla of Friendship is a day of canoeing followed by a feast on Victoria Island.

The event is more than fun in the sun, though; Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau says it’s part of a larger effort by police forces to better connect with their communities.

“To put them in a canoe, to have them work together is sometimes a challenge,” Chief Bordeleau tells CFRA. “It just takes down a bunch of barriers and puts the youth and the police officer in a totally different setting.”

Sierra and Annika Conboy get ready to paddle from Dows Lake to the Rideau Locks during the 12th Flotilla for Friendship

The canoe trip from Dow’s Lake to Victoria Island also allows the young people and the officers to ask questions and engage in conversations in order to better understand each other.

By Karen Chen, The Ottawa Citizen, July 19, 2012

Police and aboriginal kids share laughs at Flotilla for Friendship

Excerpt: The flotilla is not meant to be a race, but often the police and children speed to the feast at the finish line. Seven-year-old Inuk Gregory Langille insists his team would have been first if his partner, Ottawa police Sgt. Andrew Roach, hadn’t taken a wrong turn at the last minute. “Well at least we had you as our secret weapon,” Roach said. Langille looked up from under his melon hat and said squirting people with his water bottle was his favourite part.

“The cops and kids are so competitive, but winning is not the point!” Kitchikeesic Juden said, running from team to team barefoot (she leaves her shoes in the car and stopped pretending she wore them a while ago). Still, the canoeing seems to build a bond between them that no program or message can, she said.

“Once they’re in the canoe, they’re paddling wildly along and suddenly, by accident, they paddle at the exact same time and they’re like ‘Whoa’,” she said.

To read the full article follow this link to the Ottawa Citizen.

Friends. Theland Kicknosway, left, Ottawa police Insp. Pat Flanagan and Camden Nicholson getting ready to put paddles in the water at the 12th annual Flotilla for Friendship. The event pairs youth with members of seven different police forces in an effort to bridge the gap and create camaraderie as they paddle down the Rideau Canal towards the Ottawa River.

Michelle Nash,