Camp Cadet, a week-long summer camp for boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 15, introduces participants to the diverse criminal justice system as well and establishes positive relationships with law enforcement personnel.
Kevin McGroarty, 53, of West Pittston, serves on the Board of Directors for the Camp Cadet of Troop P out of Wyoming that will be located at Camp Kresge just outside of White Haven.
McGroarty says this camp, operated by the Pennsylvania State Police, is the perfect way for young teens to experience the same training like those of a State Trooper.
“It allows them to come and experience the same training the troops go through in Hershey,” said McGroarty. “It gives insight to all different avenues of law enforcement fields. That Monday we may have the State Police helicopter come up, the FBI will come and have a lecture and the game commission will come up and tell the kids about what they do. It gives them exposure to what they do. It’s a stepping stone for those considering this as a career.”
Camp Cadet first began in the 1970’s and is a statewide program and a required seminar for every county’s state troopers.
“They’re assigned by the commissioner,” said McGroarty. “It’s part of their public service department to develop a youth program. It’s a terrific program. It’s a military operation. This is a great steeping stone, and it not only gives them a great sense of how the police world works, but it gets them business-ready, too.”
The cadets will be kept busy learning how to work with the canine unit, the forensic unit and will walk through a crime scene and put on protective clothing while learning about blood splatter and crime scene investigation.
McGroarty emphasized that another part of the teaching aspect of Camp Cadet is to show the kids that their local police officers are approachable when needed.
“Sometimes when people drive down the road they see a cop and they automatically fix themselves,” said McGroarty. “The state police want to be approachable. They want people to feel comfortable with them. The entire week the kids spend with the troopers, they become mentors. They learn firearm safety, water safety and the whole camp is built around self esteem. It gives kids a chance to set and achieve goals for themselves.”
McGroarty continued by saying the kids will experience rock wall climbing and physical training that includes a daily run at 5:45 a.m.
To sign up for Camp Cadet, applicants fill out an application on campcadet.com and go through an interview process. Fundraising efforts are done through the business community and private individuals, so kids do not pay anything to attend.
McGroarty says Camp Cadet presents the opportunity “to be affiliated with one of the best gangs of all time.”
Camp Cadet begins Sunday, Aug. 10 and concludes Friday, Aug. 15.