Through extra-curricular activities, youth build stronger relationships not only with their peers but also with adults who supervise them and act as positive role models aside from their parents.
Just as students learn how to read from their teachers at school, how to make friends from their peers on the playground, and how to swing a bat from their coaches on the field, they can learn how to be involved, upstanding young citizens from their local law enforcement officers.
If they’ve never interacted with a law enforcement officer, the deputy walking around in a pressed green uniform with a badge on his chest and a gun on his hip might seem intimidating or even threatening.
But the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office wants young people to know that not every interaction with law enforcement has to be a bad one. Instilling in children a comfortable familiarity with and understanding about the local organizations that work to keep them safe can steer them toward the path to a bright future.
To that end, the Sheriff’s Office offers a wide variety of extra-curricular programs for its youth, including the Sheriff’s Teen Citizens Academy.
The Sheriff's Teen Citizens Academy is a 6-week program that allows Pinellas County teens the opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes look at the Sheriff's Office.
The program, a modified version of the Sheriff’s Citizens Academy for adults, is geared toward teens between ages 15 and 18 who have an interest in law enforcement but aren’t able to commit to a long-term educational program or a law enforcement explorer program.
Although dragging a teenager out of bed on Saturday mornings can be a struggle, after the first week, Teen Citizens Academy students will be so ready for the next tour, hands-on training, or demonstration that they’ll beat you to the car.
Whether they’re weaving through cones behind the wheel of a patrol cruiser, being guided down the halls of the Pinellas County Jail, or learning how to shoot the same guns Sheriff’s Office deputies are issued, students learn the agency’s ins and outs from more than what they see in movies, on television, or in the news.
At the conclusion of the academy, students attend a graduation ceremony with Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and several agency members at the Sheriff’s Administration Building.
Registration for the next Sheriff’s Teen Citizens Academy class (scheduled for Saturdays from February 3 through March 10) is due January 19, so complete your teens’ applications today!
For the full Sheriff’s Teen Citizens Academy schedule, an application, or to learn more about the course in general, visit www.pcsoweb.com/sheriffs-teen-citizens-academy, or contact Community Programs at 727-582-6612 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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