Five days straight for one week, waking up earlier than most kids their age in the summer, constant physical activity while being screamed at. This is how sophomore Makayla Slack chooses to spend her time in the summer participating in. Camp Cadet is a program for students 12-15 years old to be able to experience what it’s like to work in the police force.
“You have to be mentally ready, not just physically. It takes a toll on your mental stability because you’re being screamed at daily,” said Slack. “You really have to understand discipline.”
Camp Cadet is a summer camp sponsored by the state of Pennsylvania. It has many different locations is staffed by state troopers, police officers and volunteers.
According to the Camp Cadet website, “The goal of Camp Cadet is to introduce participants to the diverse criminal justice system and establish a positive relationship with law enforcement personnel.”
It’s a non-profit organization that teaches self-esteem, discipline, teamwork, violence prevention, drug and alcohol education and many other issues.
Many students thinking about their future don’t consider going into the police force with the recent events in the news. When asked, several Southmoreland High School Students said they would not consider pursuing a career in law enforcement.
“I wanted to see if I could make it through and make myself more responsible and have more motivation,” Slack said.
Slack has known for some time that she wanted to take this path. She said she plans on going to college for criminal justice and possibly the national guard, then attending the academy for 6 months.
“I know I still want to be a state trooper,” she said. “They do sometimes get a bad reputation though. I think my generation should look into it more, but sadly, most people are too scared of not making it.
“I hope the reputation improves and continues to as time goes on,” Slack continued. “I hope people that my peers realize that one officer’s actions doesn’t meant that everyone in the police force is like that.”
The program isn’t for everyone, but Slack said that with these resources, it gives students the chance to have a better idea of what they want to do with their future and if being in the police force is right for them.