First Posted: 8/26/2014
Bradley Adams, of Dallas, has two major goals in mind for his future: become a Navy SEAL and teach history. This summer provided the 14-year-old with two opportunities to prepare for the former.
The Dallas Senior High School incoming freshman was one of 46 students in the state selected to attend the Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner’s Honor Camp Aug. 3-9. Upon returning home, he set out again for Troop P Camp Cadet, where he served as a junior counselor.
Camp Cadet, a summer camp for students ages 12 to 15, is held at various locations throughout the state and staffed by troopers, local police officers and volunteers. Its mission, according to the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) website, is to “introduce participants to the diverse criminal justice system and establish a positive relationship with law enforcement personnel.”
The Commissioner’s Honor Camp, according to spokesperson Sergeant Robert Bemis, “was created to showcase the ‘best of the best’ of Pennsylvania’s youth.”
“Only those who are personally invited will have an opportunity to attend,” Bemis said via e-mail. “The youth are selected from local Camp Cadet programs across Pennsylvania. Camp staff members are permitted to nominate one boy and one girl who, through their conduct and deportment, best exemplified the lessons taught during the local camp program.”
Adams said via email he would recommend the Camp Cadet experience because it “builds up confidence, teaches teamwork as well as leadership skills and it is something everyone should experience.”
“I wish I could do it again,” said the son of Todd and Jennifer Adams and brother of 15-year-old Jonathan.
The junior counselor enjoyed leading the cadets and helping them adjust to the “challenging yet fun” atmosphere of the camp. One of his own challenges of the week was making sure all 66 cadets had their shirts tucked in, lanyards around their necks and water bottles on hand. A typical challenge for new cadets, he said, is the anxiety caused by the physical training aspect of the camp.
“But once you get through that part of the day,” he said, “you always have a blast!”
The young cadet also had a positive time at the PSP Commissioner’s Honor Camp and, unable to choose a favorite aspect, said, “the whole experience was amazing. I enjoyed every part.”
Bemis described the Commissioner’s Honor Camp as “a glimpse into the life of a Pennsylvania State Police Cadet in training.”
“They are lodged at the Academy in dormitories,” the sergeant said, “and are expected to maintain their rooms in the same manner as PSP Cadets. Each day, Cadets receive presentations from the various instructional units that train the PSP Cadets, but with an emphasis on lessons that the youth can use in their own lives.”
Adams learned said “that whatever life throws at you, you just have to push it aside and move on” and believes that will help him today as well as later on in life.
“Cadets are taught water safety, emergency automotive maintenance, personal self-defense and the value of proper decision making with regard to drug/alcohol abuse.” said Bemis. “Cadets receive demonstrations of the PSP Special Emergency Response Team (SERT), Helicopter, Mounted Unit and Ceremonial Unit.”
They also get a glimpse of the workings of state government, with a tour of the capitol, followed by lunch at the Governor’s Gesidence. Other recreational activities for the week included a picnic and pool party, a tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield and Visitor Center and a visit to Hershey’s Chocolate World.
This year’s program included a presentation by Retired Marine Corps Major Dan Pantaleo, who spoke of his experience during the attack on the Pentagon on Sept.11, 2001. Following his address, Pantaleo presented each Cadet with a copy of his book, “Four Days at the Pentagon.”
“I would also like to thank all the troopers,” Adams said, “for giving up a week of their time for kids like me to be able to enjoy this great experience.”