The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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June 24, 2014

Camp Cadet

SELINSGROVE — Campers lined Susquehanna University’s campus on Monday for the start of a weeklong adventure at Camp Cadet where “good kids” are turned into “better” ones.

Campers arrived Sunday night to participate in the law enforcement program, which runs the rest of the week at SU.

“Our camp is for youth from Northumberland, Montour, Union and Snyder counties from the ages of 12 to 15, young men and women both,” said state trooper Mark Reasner, the camp’s acting director this year.

Valley youths who are interested in law enforcement careers are encouraged to sign up for the annual camp. According to Reasner: “We give them a taste of what to expect with different programs we have them go through. We give them an overview of what we do with our jobs. There are some kids out here who might be looking to go into the military.”

This is the ninth year for the Southern Tier Camp Cadet, and there are a few cadets who are following law enforcement careers after attending in previous years. According to the state police website, the goal of the camp “is to introduce participants to the diverse criminal justice system and establish a positive relationship with law enforcement personnel. The camp focuses on discipline, self-esteem, teamwork, drug and alcohol education, violence prevention and many other issues facing today’s youth.”

Various activities will be held throughout the week. Northwestern Academy personnel will take the attendees through programs emphasizing team leadership and communication skills. A forensic unit will help campers understand how crime scenes are processed, and Buffalo Valley Regional Police officers will come in with their department’s bike patrol to teach the campers more about their jobs. Campers on Monday were particularly excited for the Union County sheriff to arrive with a police dog.

“I started watching a lot of ‘Law and Order’ videos, and I really wanted to start working with the police force and stuff like that,” said 14-year-old Gabby Passaniti, a camper from Lewisburg. “I thought this would help. I want to try to become a police officer or detective.”

Blake Wray 14, of Mifflinburg, plans to join the armed forces. “It’s pretty tough mentally and physically, but what you get out of it is definitely worth it,” he said, standing up perfectly straight as they are taught to do at camp.

High-school-aged counselors who previously went through the program themselves said successful campers require leadership skills, confidence and perseverance. “During the week,” Reasner said, “we stress discipline, teamwork, self-esteem. We’ll take a good kid and make them better.”

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