By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item
LEWISBURG — If you’re interested in watching state troopers sing and dance for a good cause, then make sure to visit Applebee’s on Feb. 27.
Applebee’s, along Route 15 just north of Lewisburg, will be rockin’ as troopers will be protecting and serving — patrons’ food, that is.
State police from Valley stations and barracks will join forces to raise funds for the eighth annual Camp Cadet.
“I’m very excited for this year’s event,” said Matt Burrows, Camp Cadet coordinator and a Milton state trooper. “It is such a good feeling to know that so many people care about what is going on.”
Troopers will be forming an alliance with Applebee’s staff members to raise money to help support the annual summer camp for children at Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove.
Patrons are given the option of donating $10 in a tip and receiving $10 in gift cards toward their next meal.
Camp Cadet serves about 60 Valley youths and costs about $25,000 to operate. It is set for June 16- 21 at Susquehanna.
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.
In 2012, 70 children attended the camp, and Burrows had Super Bowl champion and New York Giant Henry Hynoski visit as a surprise guest. Hynoski spoke to the children about the importance of teamwork and said he was impressed with the camp.
“This was a great experience for me,” he said. “Those guys do a great job, and it was a pleasure to be there.”
But first, troopers need to raise the cash to fund the camp, and Feb. 27 will be the first event as troopers suit up in aprons and sneakers and exchange citation books for order pads.
“Camp Cadet takes us a year to plan,” Burrows said. “We pretty much start right after the camp ends, and we thank everyone who donates and helps us keep this going.”
“I look around and watch all these people here, and some we know and some we don’t, and everyone seems to be having a great time,” he said. “And the cause is something we are very passionate about.”
Troopers last year raised about $10,000 at Applebee’s, and over the past five years, the Lewisburg restaurant has raised more than $30,000 for Camp Cadet.
“It’s a remarkable program,” said Burrows, whose idea it was to kick off a local Camp Cadet program in 2004. “We all have a blast with this (camp) from start to finish.”
Campers wake each morning at 5. Fifteen minutes later, they’re in marching formation. And by 6, they have begun their morning physical training session.
A golf tournament fundraiser is set for May 6 at the Wynding Brook Golf Club, Milton, and May 11 will be a 5K race and walk at the training center of the Lewisburg Penitentiary. To register and for information, go to www.svlecc.com.