Local youth attend PSP Honor Camp in Hershey

JIM RUNKLE/THE EXPRESS Jackson Walker, left, and Jordan Burrows were named Honor Cadets this year and attended a week-long camp cadet program at the State Police Academy in Hershey.

LOCK HAVEN — For Jackson Walker and Jordan Burrows, a week at Clinton County Police Camp Cadet was just the beginning of a wonderful experience.

Jackson is the son of Jennifer and Greg Walker of Lock Haven.

Jordan is the daughter of Sandra and Douglas Burrows of Renovo.

The two 13-year-olds were chosen by the Pennsylvania State Police Honor Cadet Program to become the next PSP, and that means a big reward — a week-long camp cadet program at the State Police Academy in Hershey.

“It was an amazing experience. I got to see things that no kid or adult will ever get to see. I was able to go to the capital building and see everything inside. I got to go to the governor’s residence and have lunch. We went to a ropes course and state police museums. There were dozens more activities,” Jackson said of honor camp.

“Overall the camp was awesome and something all the cadets should be aiming for. Therefore, I think that every kid, in every county should attend a camp cadet program. It’s a once in a lifetime experience that everyone should go through. Not only does it build up valuable character traits, it’s what is really expected from them in the real world,” he said.

Both Jackson and Jordan said the Honor Camp was great… something they will never forget.

But in order to get to Honor Camp, youngsters must first spend two years at Camp Cadet and show they have what it takes to be a cadet at Honor Camp.

After their first year at Camp Cadet, Jackson and Jordan were chosen to come back the next year as junior staff. In order to get this position, you must stand out and show leadership within your platoon, Jackson explained.

“It’s a huge responsibility. Not only do you have to keep yourself in check, but the rest of your platoon as well. The position builds up your leadership skills, as well as your big manly voice,” Jackson said, calling junior staff not only very important, but very exciting, too.

“In order to receive the great honor of coming back a third year, the junior staff chosen have to complete 40 hours of community service, maintain good grades, and stay out of trouble at home, school and with the police. Once they have completed their duties they will come back and serve as the PSP. Their job throughout the week is to take charge and help the cadets with everything they do throughout the week. They also have to set a good example for all the cadets,” Jackson said.

As a third year participant at Camp Cadet, two cadets are selected from the junior staff to be PSP. This year it was Jackson and Jordan, and they worked right alongside police officers and staff at camp.

And they also had the privilege of attending Honor Camp.

Jackson talks highly about his experience at Camp Cadet.

“Most cadets leave camp saying that camp was an amazing experience, yet some will say it was so hard. In truth it is a combination of both. There are times when you are having the time of your life, and then there are the times when you feel like quitting and going home. By the end of the week, camp has the same effect on every one of the cadets, which is making them a more well-behaved, responsible, intelligent, and more honest young man. They will keep that with them for a very long time,” Jackson said.

“My experience at camp has been an honor. I remember waiting outside of Central Mountain Middle School with my mom getting ready for my first year of camp to start. I remember feeling very nervous, yet anxious when I first stepped on the bus to what I thought was going to be a very exhausting week. And it was,” he continued.

Jackson said the first day of camp felt like an eternity by but the end of the week, it felt like an hour had passed.

“During the week, the days are long, but very exciting and full of fun. There are three things that I have noticed at camp cadet that keep us going and allow us to have fun during the week.

“The first is the staff. The staff at camp are wonderful. They keep us going by encouraging and expecting the best of us. They are great people to joke and talk with, but when needed, they crack down on us.

“Another thing that drives the cadets throughout the week is the other 40 cadets who soon become great, supportive friends. “The last thing that carries the cadets during he week is their own self-drive to have fun and learn,” Jackson said.

It’s obvious that Jackson and Jordan worked hard and enjoyed their three years at Clinton County Camp Cadet.

And the week spent at PSP Honor Camp in Hershey was certainly a great reward.