Education and online savvy were the dominant topics of conversation Thursday morning when 22 Girl Scouts toured the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department as part of a “Classroom to Career” (C2C) program, sponsored in part by Bank of America and the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Alumnae Association. Classroom to Career exposes young women to a variety of career paths by giving them behind-the-scenes access to workplaces.
The girls, ranging in ages from 10 to 17, toured the Sheriff’s Department headquarters in order learn more about a career in law enforcement and the myriad employment opportunities offered by the department. The tour included visits to the Sheriff’s Office, Intelligence Division, Public Affairs, Homicide, Crimes Against Children, Volunteer Forces, Central Patrol Station and Employee Resources. Despite the wide-ranging nature of the tour, two topics continued to resurface: education and online awareness.
“There are a lot of opportunities with our department,” Sheriff John McMahon told the girls as they visited his office. “The trick is to stay in school, graduate and be careful what you do on social media.”
Contrary to popular belief, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department offers a number of opportunities for employment other than that of a deputy sheriff. The girls were introduced to unsworn career opportunities in the department such as crime analyst, high tech specialist, nurse, doctor, dispatcher, crime scene specialist, financial analyst, media liaison, photographer, web designer, computer programmer, and community outreach coordinator.
Women detectives from Homicide and Public Affairs addressed the group and answered questions about promotion and the hiring process. Sgt. Dana Foster, who heads the Crimes Against Children Division, also addressed the Girl Scouts.
“As long as I have worked hard and done what I can to educate myself, I haven’t had any problems,” Foster answered. “You can accomplish whatever you set your mind to, as long as you work hard.”
Knea Hawley, Director of Fund Development & Alumnae Engagement for the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio, arranged the tour because she wants the Girl Scouts to get more exposure to potential careers in order to make better informed decisions regarding their education and choices in life.
“My vision is exposure to many different career paths in the local area–careers they may not know about or haven’t considered, because they are non-traditional occupations for women,” Hawley said.
Foster also warned the young women about potential predators on social media and various applications readily available on smartphones and tablets. The Crimes Against Children targets predators who use technology to identify vulnerable children and victimize them.
The Sheriff’s Department treated the girls to lunch and members of the executive staff came and ate with the Girl Scouts. The interactions continued and the girls were able to see a side of law enforcement outside of a critical incident, criminal act or tragedy. They laughed, joked and networked while learning about hiring requirements and the importance of good decisionmaking.
The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department was the first tour in the C2C summer curriculum. The Girl Scouts will also visit the Rialto Fire Department, Macy’s, BNSF Railways and Fiesta Village as part of the program. Girl Scout alumnae will coach each girl and help them develop a portfolio for college applications and rèsumès.
“This type of program is very important and we are more than happy to partner with the Girl Scouts to make it a reality,” McMahon said.