Two state Crime Stoppers Ambassador spots are now held by Odessa students, which an Ector County Independent School District Police Department officer says is a big deal.
Aaron McKown, a 16-year-old sophomore at OCTECHS has been an ambassador since sixth grade. Skylar Hubbard, a 16-year-old Permian High School sophomore, was recently selected.
The Crime Stoppers Ambassador Program is a student-based leadership program for Texas youth involved in Crime Stoppers.
The ambassador program includes 12 students are who carefully chosen and tasked with setting leadership standards of excellence among their peer groups, acting as role models on their campuses and in their communities and are required to complete a series of projects over the course of a calendar year.
McKown was the youngest student ever appointed to the ambassadors, Lt. Jeff Daniels said.
The students are picked at the Texas Campus Crime Stoppers State Conference, which was in Houston this year.
By the end of the conference, Hubbard said they have to give two speeches in public, write an article to go into the newspaper and log eight hours of community service, such as working during Bustin’ for Badges, which supports the local police department, or Bad Boy Blast that supports local fire departments.
Students in the ambassadors are from across the state. When Hubbard interviewed, Daniels said 27 youngsters applied for seven positions. He added both students have done an outstanding job representing ECISD and the City of Odessa.
“We’re extremely proud to have that type of recognition for Odessa because it’s not based on population size or area, it’s based on the quality of the individuals who interview. For us to land two out of 12 spots is huge. We’re the only program I believe right now with multiple ambassadors,” Daniels said.
Once you are elected as an ambassador, Hubbard said you can fill it until they graduate, you can leave of your own choosing, or if a disciplinary action occurs.
During the state conference, ambassadors introduce all speakers, and at every class change ambassadors make sure attendees books are stamped to verify they were there, Daniels said.
Hubbard said they are supposed to be able to answer all the questions people ask them.
“They’re given multiple jobs throughout the conference to make sure that it runs (smoothly),” Daniels said.
Both boys have family members who have been, or are, in law enforcement.
McKown said he wanted to be an ambassador because he thought it would help him learn to make public presentations and lead. He added that he thinks he wants to become a police officer, but he doesn’t know what kind yet.
“It just teaches really good skills that I would be able to utilize later in life,” McKown said.
He added that there is always so much to learn from every state conference.
Hubbard agreed that it would help him with leadership skills. He is not sure if he wants to go into law enforcement, but it is definitely an option.
“And I really wanted to make a difference in my community,” Hubbard said. “My biggest issue at school is about how police officers are being viewed in a negative way with all the pop culture that is making kids view them this way and I would want to change that.”