A few months ago, I was approached by the President/CEO of the YMCA of Dane County, Carrie Wall, to discuss ways in which we might partner with them to create unique opportunities to connect with youth in our community and to help facilitate a safe space for our youth to engage through structured recreational activities. Intrigued by Ms. Wall's proposition, I assigned my Community Outreach Captain to work with Ms. Wall and her staff to explore the possibilities. Now, after weeks of planning, the "Friday Nights at the Y" youth outreach initiative is ready to launch!
Beginning this Friday, May 29th, and continuing every Friday night through September 4th, youth ages 13-18 are invited to participate in this free summer offering at both the East and West YMCA locations. Throughout the summer on Friday nights from 8:00 PM – 11:30 PM, kids will have the opportunity to play basketball, volleyball, dodge ball, sports conditioning, dance and engage in a range of other activities. MPD Officers will be in attendance as well to interact with the kids, play a game of Horse, spike the volleyball and maybe even show off a dance move or two! We will also host a special MPD theme night on July 17 that will feature police-specific activities such as our standard agility test that prospective officers must complete during the hiring process, tactical exercises, legal literacy discussions, K9 demonstrations, and other fun and interesting activities unique to policing.
It has long been a priority of mine to find ways for my officers to connect with youth in an effort to assist them, guide them, educate them, or just provide an added layer of support as they face the many challenges that life puts before them. Whether through our patrol or investigative contacts, our Safety Education Officers, Education Resource Officers, Neighborhood Officers, our Youth Academies, or our upcoming Explorer Post program and our Community Outreach and Resource Education (CORE) team slated for activation later this year, I am committed to the ongoing work of cultivating positive police - community relationships. And to seizing opportunities such as the "Friday Nights at the Y" partnership to build trust and proactively engage with our youth in an atmosphere that promotes teamwork, sportsmanship, and most of all – fun. I extend my thanks to Carrie Wall for her vision and leadership, to YMCA staff for their coordination in this effort, and to all others who are dedicated to making this particular youth outreach initiative a success. Kick-off is this Friday from 8:00 PM – 11:30 PM. We hope to draw around 100 kids at each YMCA site to get this program started so spread the word!
For questions or further information, contact the YMCA at:
or call Lussier Family East YMCA at 608-221-1571 or Lussier Family West YMCA at 608-276-6606.
This blog was authored by Captain Kristen Roman.