By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE - More than 50 cadets marched onto the Susquehanna University football practice field and stood at attention while Milton state trooper Matt Burrows explained the importance of self-discipline.
And then two huge helicopters came and interrupted the long-time state trooper.
Burrows, who is in his eighth year of heading the Susquehanna Valley Law Enforcement Camp Cadet program, which works to establish a positive relationship between 11- and 15-year-olds and police, watched the cadets’ faces as they look in awe at the graceful flying of the state police and Life Flight helicopters.
“This is a great experience for us,” said Kelly Hollenbach, 14, of Middleburg. “We are learning so much already.”
Hollenbach is being joined by 54 other youngsters who are attending Camp Cadet on the campus. The program began Sunday night.
“It is so cool to get to see the helicopters come in and land,” Kelly said. “This whole experience just has been great so far.”
Thanks to state police at Hazleton and Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, cadets got to see the inside of both the state police and Life Flight choppers.
Camp Cadet is all about learning as each camper wakes each morning at 5. Fifteen minutes later, they’re in marching formation. And by 6, they have begun their morning physical training session.
Topics addressed at the camp include self-esteem, discipline, teamwork and violence prevention, Burrows said. The camp also teaches children how to avoid alcohol and tobacco.
“We are happy to see so many people out here today,” Burrows said. “This camp is about these kids and it is about us teaching them how to be responsible.”
Burrows, who is also the Valley’s media relations officer, was out of uniform and having the time of his life mingling with the several other troopers and officers from various Valley stations and the cadets.
One cadet in particular said he was shocked to see how Burrows was acting.
“It’s much different then at home,” cadet Luke Burrows, 13, said of his father. “Here I have to call him sir.”
Luke Burrows has heard all about Camp Cadet for many years and saw the effort his father puts into the camp, he said.
“He always is talking about the camp,” Luke Burrows said. “So I am so excited to be here with him. I’m just not used to calling him sir.”