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Students flock to Camp Cadet

June 10, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

FORT LITTLETON, Pa. - Hard-nosed discipline, regimentation and fun is how Pennsylvania state troopers and 40 area students participating in the annual camp experience describe Camp Cadet Week in Fulton County.

This year is the ninth for the camp, one of 27 in the state that troopers put on to teach middle school and high school students a little about the positive side of law enforcement. The camp is held at the Camp Sinoquipe Boy Scout Reservation north of Fort Littleton.

Students from the county's three school districts sign up and compete to be chosen for the camp, which is free.

"They're good students. They're here because they want to be," said Cpl. William Baker, one of Camp Cadet's founders.

There is no program in Franklin County.

The cadets, 20 boys and 20 girls ages 12 to 15, are separated into squads of 10 each. Each squad is run by a trooper and a senior cadet, a student who has been through the camp before.

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The week begins on Sunday and ends Friday night with a graduation ceremony.

The graduation speaker will be Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Carol Van Horn.

The week is intense, Baker said.

"The kids are looking for structure and that's what we give them. We're hard on them," Baker said.

Baker said some parents tell him that the camp is a turning point in their children's lives.

"They come in scared on Sunday and leave confident on Friday," said Patti Hess, a nurse who volunteers for the program.

One goal is to interest the students in considering law enforcement careers.

Baker said he knows of no graduate who went into police work.

"We've had a lot of them go into the military," he said.

The cadets' day begins at 5:30 a.m. with reveille and ends at 10 p.m. with lights out.

Typical of activities was a demonstration Monday by two members of the Pennsylvania State Police Mounted Unit who came down from Harrisburg, Pa. The unit's 26 horses are kept at the State Police Academy there.

Cpl. Wade Crimbring, head of the unit, said it is used for crowd control during large demonstrations. Most people will move back at an officer's command if he is on a horse, Crimbring said.

The unit is a carryover from the days when the only mode of transportation for state troopers was horses, Crimbring said.

Levi Ramsey, 13, a senior cadet, said he advises cadets when they first come to the camp to "pay attention, then have fun as soon as possible."

Senior Cadet Amanda Price, 14, tells incoming cadets that the best day of the week is Thursday, the day of the triathlon, the dance and pizza.

Among other activities are primitive Indian folklore, water, canoe, weapons and bicycle safety demonstrations, stream studies, a live snake demonstration, K-9 demonstration, helicopters and the triathlon.

"It's pretty fun," said Cadet Tara Buterbaugh, 12. "I heard a lot of bad stuff about it. I heard that it would be really scary."

Cadet Whitney Price, 12, Amanda's younger sister, said it wasn't Amanda's influence that caused her to volunteer for Camp cadet.

"My mother made me," she said. "I'm not really glad l came, but I think it's kind of fun."

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