Gangs are a reality in our province, and unfortunately, they sometimes involve Ranch participants.

Ranch Ehrlo Society teamed up with the Ministry of Social Services (MSS) and the Regina Police Service (RPS) to provide training to Ranch staff on how to recognize gang involvement and how to help youth avoid recruitment.

Gangs are able to recruit vulnerable youth because gangs offer a sense of family and belonging that the youth feel are lacking in their lives.

Fortunately, there is a way to impede youth from joining gangs or encourage them to leave the gang lifestyle: relationships.

Staff providing a Ranch “family” by building meaningful relationships and being positive role models all help to deter the allure of gangs.

Wanda Remple, supervisor, community response unit at the MSS said that the ministry and Ranch Ehrlo can make a difference by supporting each other in the endeavour to save children from gangs.

“Using creativity, we can create the tools we need to steer these youth in a better direction. We can create a ‘family’ for them by building relationships, so they don’t need gangs for that sense of belonging,” she explained.

She said that the MSS appreciates the collaboration with Ranch Ehrlo to tackle this issue.

The constable of the RPS street gang unit who provided the training said, “This collaboration between the MSS and the Ranch can focus on the reason youth are enticed by gangs.”

He said the majority of gang members he sees are from broken homes and/or situations of abuse or neglect. These youth are looking for a sense of belonging.

“The Ranch has the excellent opportunity to help youth before they become involved in the adult justice system. It’s important to develop strategies of prevention,” he pointed out.

Staff at the Ranch can use the meaningful relationships they develop with the youth to identify why they’re susceptible and divert them away from the gang lifestyle.