CRESSON – As a cadet in 2017 and then as a senior cadet last year, Lacey Greathouse, of South Fork, knew Cambria County’s state police youth program was getting ready to move to the next level.
Greathouse, 17, was excited to come back to Camp Cadet at Mount Aloysius College on Wednesday to be among the first to try out the new obstacle course following ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
“We would run here in the morning and the troopers would always say, ‘That’s where the obstacle course is going to be,’ ” Greathouse said.
“We could never really envision it, but now that it’s here, it’s really awesome.”
The course has been a dream for Camp Cadet’s board and staff since the program was launched in 2012, Trooper Scott Urban said.
“We wanted to be able to give the cadets that come into our program a physical challenge and also to learn team building,” Urban said. “When they face adversity, they are able to get through something.”
Challenges represent the underlying theme of Camp Cadet, Greathouse said.
“No one is going to come here and not have challenges, either physically or mentally,” she said, noting she embraced the mental challenges during her week as a cadet.
“Sometimes, you feel like, I don’t know how much I can do here – what I can take,” she continued. “That’s what you learn here. They just teach you to keep going no matter what you are doing.”
Camp Cadet is designed for youths from ages 12 to 15 who are interested in careers in law enforcement, emergency services or the military, as well as those who are exploring different options, Trooper Daniel Sweeney said.
The new obstacle course enhances the existing program.
“They are going to build more confidence and challenge themselves,” Sweeney said. “It’s going to be a huge confidence booster for them. We don’t let kids quit on themselves. We don’t quit on them.”
Although he describes Camp Cadet as “paramilitary,” Sweeney stressed it is not a boot camp for troubled youth.
“It’s a camp to make good kids better,” he said. “You will see, at the end of camp, a difference in them.”Camp Cadet 2019 is scheduled July 28-Aug. 3 at Mount Aloysius. More information is available on the website, cambriacountycampcadet.org.