A group of Ontario probation officers who work with youth recently organised a hockey tournament with the residents of the Portage Elora substance abuse rehabilitation centre. Whereas most of the contact that Portage residents have had with probation officers in the past has been because they were in trouble with the law, this activity was a positive experience for the youth. It helped humanise the probation officers for the residents and helped them to better understand the role of a probation officer, reinforcing the value of collaboration.
Here’s a first-hand account from a 16-year old Portage Elora resident:
On a Thursday in June, Portage hosted a hockey tournament with the local probation officers of Elora and Fergus. It was a great turnout with 15 probation officers showing up to take on the Portage community.
The PO’s had a warm welcome and the Portage community introduced themselves. Walter Russo said a few words and told us it was “a pleasure to have the opportunity to bond with the Portage Family” and that he would love to have the opportunity again.
It was a hard fought tournament, and althoughthere was no definite winner, we can all say that we had fun and we learned a lot. That was the goal!
Afterwards, we had a BBQ and sat down with the PO’s and talked. It was a learning experience to see and hear a PO’s side of things. They want us all to be on the right track and succeed.