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Brighton Reservation hosts third Police Explorers Field Day

By Andrea Holata

BRIGHTON — To keep youth engaged in positive activities, the Seminole Police Department held the third Police Explorers Field Day from Nov. 17-18 at the Fred Smith Rodeo Arena in Brighton.

About 60 youth ranging from ages 6-16 from Immokalee, Big Cypress, Hollywood, Naples, Tampa and Brighton met for a day of fun-filled activities.

“This event represents the Police Explorers and the camaraderie between the Tribal members and different reservations,” Police Chief William Latchford said. “It promotes teamwork, discipline, and it gives time for the kids across all the reservations to fellowship with each other and interact with the police officers.”

He said the friendly competition among peers will also allow the winning reservation to have bragging rights.

After youth set up their camping tents, they were divided into teams by reservation and then competed against each other in team-building activities, including Face the Cookie, Break the Ice, Potato Picker and Shirt Off My Back.

They worked together to devise strategies to help their teams finish first place, an honor Tampa won. Immokalee and Hollywood tied for second, while Naples took third, Brighton fourth and Big Cypress fifth.

“Basically, [the Police Explorers] teaches life lessons; it adds on to what is already being done in the homes from the parent’s standpoint,” Chief Latchford said. “It gives [youth] an extra added tool for their life and whatever direction they go.”

Brighton SPD Officer Colleen Hardin organized the event and said the Police Explorers program offers many lessons.

“It helps to build leadership with the youth and community involvement because they don’t always get to see or spend time with one another on perspective reservations,” Officer Hardin said. “These [youth] are going to be the future leaders.”

Hardin said Field Day takes place quarterly and will be held on each reservation.

And even with 101 Tribal youth in the Police Explorers program, Chief Latchford encourages more to join.

“There are a lot of kids out there that we would love to have in the program,” he said. “We would love to bring them into the Police Explorers program and open their minds and their hearts to not just law enforcement but to a world of service.”

For more information about the Police Explorers program, call 954-967-8900.

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