Jaden Wilkins, 13, kicked off his summer break a little differently than most of his peers.
“Sit ups, push ups, planks and then you would raise the flag, which each platoon would pick three people to raise the flag,” Wilkins explained.
He is one of more than 80 teenagers who graduated from Camp Cadet Friday.
It’s a five-day course packed with intense physical training, classroom instruction and leadership development.
Officers teach each cadet what it’s like to work in law enforcement.
“Whether you’re a good kid, whether you don’t have that good of a background, they’ll whip you into shape and you’ll leave camp as a new kid,” Wilkins said.
Cadets learn discipline, team work and respect.
Sabrina Hepler, 15, said mastering those skills through Camp Cadet is something that could set any kid a part from the rest.
“Even if you don’t want to be a trooper, it just prepares you for life — getting you ready to grow up really,” Hepler said.
Trooper Michelle McGee, program coordinator, said seeing the change in the teens from day one to graduation is the most rewarding part.
“It really shows when they do their drills, when they’re out there marching, when they say their call of honor at the end of the ceremony you can tell that they’re very proud of what they’ve done,” Trooper McGee said.