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(Photos) Burnaby RCMP youth soccer camps attract record applications

218 kids applied for 100 spots at the free two-day camps

Burnaby RCMP’s youth soccer camp program was back with a bang after a one-year hiatus last summer because of COVID-19.

The local detachment hosted a pair of two-day camps this month, one at Edmonds Park and a second that wrapped up Wednesday at Confederation Park.

“I grew up playing soccer on these fields in Burnaby, so, for me, it’s a really special experience to be out there as a coach and as a police officer with kids from all over the city,” said Const. Dave Morris, a Burnaby Mountie who played professional soccer with the Vancouver Whitecaps before pursuing a policing career. “By the end of these camps, bonds are formed, and kids really see the officers they are playing with in a new light. Overall, it was a great experience that strengthens our community, and, most of all, it was fun for the kids, the volunteers and the Burnaby RCMP officers and staff that take part.”

Morris helped run this year’s program with fellow youth section officer Const. Tulsi Reddy.

The free camp program, for kids aged eight to 13, was started in 2017 by Const. Kwame Amoateng, a former Burnaby Mountie who has since been transferred out of the province.

His first camp focused on kids from a low-income community in South Burnaby and drew fewer than 20 campers.

But it’s grown by leaps and bounds ever since – and so has demand.

This year, 218 kids applied for a total of 100 spots.

“Discussions are already underway to see what next year may look like. We are looking at what’s possible,” Morris said. “Putting these camps together is a big effort involving people from all over the detachment as well as volunteers. We are getting great feedback from families about the fun experience that these camps provided for them, which makes it all worth it.”   

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor