Selkirk based teacher Robert Unik and some of his students recently carved a personalized sign for the Selkirk chapter of the Bear Clan Patrol and will present it to them at a meeting June 6. (Photo Submitted)
A group of local women are rounding up volunteers, as they look to put boots on the ground to keep the streets of Selkirk safe.
The Bear Clan Patrol, which currently sees volunteers patrol the streets in the North End of Winnipeg, is now expanding into Selkirk.
Wendy Pichor-Chartrand is the chair of the Ikwe Oodena Women’s Council, the group working to get the Selkirk chapter of the Bear Clan Patrol up and running.
Pichor-Chartrand said she has seen first-hand the need in Selkirk for volunteers to patrol the streets, and make sure residents of all ages are kept safe.
“This is needed because of the safety concerns we see in this town, because of the drugs in this town, and because of the youth that we want to guide onto the right path and keep on the right path,” Pichor-Chartrand said.
She added they hope to get the patrol up and running by the end of June or early July of this year, but still need more volunteers.
Pichor-Chartrand said she has watched as her son has lost friends to drug abuse, so she knows how going down certain paths can lead to tragedy.
“And lately I have been thinking about my granddaughter, and what kind of city and what kind of world she is going to grow up in,” Pichor-Chartrand said.
“In the end we can sit back and let it play out, or we can get up and we can do something.”
Once the group is up and running, they will always need to have three adult patrols out together at one time, and always at least one male.
The patrol is looking to initially start patrolling Selkirk streets on Friday and Saturday evenings from approximately 6 to 9 p.m., as soon as they get their volunteers established and their leaders trained.
From there they will decide if they need to branch out into other days or times. Pichor-Chartrand added volunteers don’t have to give specific time commitments when they first sign up.
“We would walk out as a group looking to deter crime, but also if people are on the streets and are needing resources, we plan to make an effort to give them the resources they need,” Pichor-Chartrand said.
“And if people don’t feel safe and need someone to walk with them or help to guide them home or guide them somewhere, that’s what we will do.”
She added the goal of the patrol will always be to work for the community.
“It’s all about the community, and it’s all about what the community wants from us.”
The patrol also wants to do whatever they can to help local youth who may need a helping hand.
“With so many of our youth, one path leads this way and the other path can lead a very different way, so we want to wrap our arms around the youth,” she said.
The Selkirk chapter of the Bear Clan Patrol hosted a public meeting at the Selkirk Comp Theatre on Tuesday, June 6.
Pichor-Chartrand said the meeting was a chance for community members to learn about what the Bear Clan plans to do, and community members were invited to offer their own suggestions.
The meet-and-greet was also an opportunity for community members to sign up to volunteer to either be part of the patrol, or be a part of the community council.
Pichor-Chartrand explained although the patrol will follow traditional ways of Indigenous culture, anyone of any culture or background can volunteer to be part of the Bear Clan Patrol.
Anyone looking to volunteer with the Selkirk Bear Clan or get more information about the group can email firstname.lastname@example.org, or can visit their Facebook page by searching ‘Selkirk Chapter of Bear Clan Patrol.’