Everyone benefits from the NYPD Youth Explorers.
So said Deputy Inspector John Sprague, the commanding officer of the 62nd Precinct, last week as he showcased the group during the station house’s November Community Council meeting.
Council members were all smiles as Sprague talked about how the Youth Explorers help out the community through their graffiti clean ups and community service activities they spearhead.
At the same time, the program benefits the teens enrolled by giving them both insight into a career in law enforcement as well as a sense of belonging, explained Police Officer Matthew Pierre, the precinct’s Youth Explorer coordinator.
“The biggest benefits are the leadership skills they learn, the friendships they forge and the encouragement they receive to do anything they set their minds to %u2013 that’s something kids in this city need right now,” Pierre said. “When growing up most children look up to a parent or an older kid in the neighborhood as a role model, but few look at police officers.”
Pierre said children enrolled in the Youth Explorer’s program are taught about all the aspects of the law %u2013 “the good the bad and the ugly,” as he puts it %u2013 in a friendly, down to earth way.
Between informational sessions and community service projects, Explorers go on day trips to the NYPD Police Museum or specialized police units so they could learn what it is like to be an NYPD helicopter pilot or work with the harbor patrol.
There are also non-NYPD related activities, Pierre explained, adding that just next week Explorers will be going to watch the tree lighting in Rockefeller Center and go ice skating afterwards.
There are currently more than 25 Youth Explorers in the 62nd Precinct, which encompasses Bath Beach and Bensonhurst. Anyone between 14 and 20 can join.
Anyone wishing to learn more about the program can contact the precinct at (718) 236-2611.
©2009 Community News Group