Parksville city council recognized the city’s first Ambassador program graduate this week.
“Thanks for using me as your guinea pig,” said Rory Van Vliet Monday night.
The program was started a year ago as an extension of the Life Without Fear program councillor Al Greir initiated with Detlef “Joe” Friede and the German Ju Jutsu Centre, he explained.
Over 50 local youth have gone through the program, designed to, “develop discipline, knowledge and self respect in these kids and in the end they will be licensed for security with the possibility of working for groups like the Coast Guard and fire rescue,” said Friede.
Greir explained he wanted to help youth at risk — the young people in the community he called “fringe players who do not join organized groups such as minor hockey, ball, or theatre.”
He found Friede to take on the project and they formed a foundation committed to reducing youth violence, vandalism and crime.
The Ambassador program which now has 19 members, is free to any young person looking for a “more rewarding and fulfilling step into manhood or womanhood,” Greir said.
It is being run in co-operation with the Justice Institute of B.C. and being considered for other communities.
Participants learn skills and have quality peer leadership as well as have opportunities to earn ju jutsu belts, courses in fire prevention, search and rescue, first aid and security.
“Rory has made great strides in changing his life and has passed the high standards of this program,” Greir said. “I know Rory will make a big difference in the lives of other youth at risk in this area.”
For more information, call the school at 250-248-3538 or check www.gjjs.ca.