In this file photo, Cadet Mallory Valentine, 14, of Donora makes her way across the first obstacle of the high ropes at State Police Troop B’s Camp Cadet at Heritage Reservation in Wharton Township (Image via the Uniontown Herald-Standard)
By Alyssa Choiniere
WHARTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — The Pennsylvania State Police Troop B’s Camp Cadet exists to make good kids better, said Trooper Robert Broadwater, who leads the program held annually at Heritage Reservation here.
“It’s just a great opportunity for young people to have an experience in a controlled, structured, disciplined environment, and we think the kids benefit from that,” he said.
The camp is open to students ages 12 to 14 within Troop B’s coverage area, which includes Fayette, Greene, Washington and parts of Westmoreland and Allegheny counties. Cadets receive a hands-on experience in policework through the weeklong camp.
Campers learn to investigate a crime scene, participate in a mock trial and learn swift water rescue skills, rifle safety and other specialties through activities led by troopers and others in the field. They see demonstrations from state police motorcycle, K-9 and aviation units, getting a close up look at the equipment.
The cadets develop self-discipline, teamwork and self esteem while learning about the careers of law enforcement, EMS and other first responders, Broadwater said.
“We want to build that positive bridge so they can bring that to their community and society as well,” Broadwater said.
- IF YOU WANT TO HELP: Anyone interested in donating can mail a check to Troop B Camp Cadet Inc. to 1070 Eberly Way Lemont Furnace, Pa., 15456. For more information, visit www.troopbcampcadet.com.
He said he was able to see the ways that some of his former cadets have advanced when he represented Camp Cadet at the Fayette County Fair. Many former cadets stopped by the booth to talk, he said.
“It was really nice to see how they grew up,” he said.
Broadwater said the experience teaches the cadets how to work together as a team. They discover how to push beyond limitations they thought they had, he said.
“In one week, those 43 kids need to learn to rely on each other. You don’t have to be friends, but you have to respect each other even if you don’t necessarily care for each other. You have to rely on them, and they have to rely on you,” he said.
The camp was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 concerns. Broadwater said they expect to hold the next camp in the summer of 2022.
“As of right now, everything is a go,” he said. “There might be some obstacles that need to be overcome, but we have a plan in place,” he said.
They are also planning a fundraiser for the camp, which costs $350 per child, he said.
“We are based on fundraisers and donations,” Broadwater said.
Alyssa Choiniere is a reporter for the Uniontown Herald-Standard. Readers may email her at [email protected]. Helping the Helpers is a cooperative effort between the Uniontown Herald-Standard and the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.
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