MLK CommUnity Board and MLK CommUnity Advocates donate to Chester County Camp Cadet
By Steven Hoffman
Each year, Chester County Camp Cadet offers children between the ages of 11 and 13 the opportunity to learn about various aspects of law enforcement during a fun and informative overnight summer camp. The camp promotes good relations between police and young people, and has been an effective program since it was established in 1971.
Youngsters attend the camp for free, in part because local businesses and community groups have strongly supported Chester County Camp Cadet. Last week, the board of the MLK CommUnity of the Greater Kennett Area and the MLK CommUnity Advocates presented a check for $2,000 to Chester County Camp Cadet. The donation enabled four children to attend this year's camp.
During the check presentation at the State Police Barracks in Avondale, Pennsylvania State Police trooper Reggie Easterling said that Chester County Camp Cadet is very grateful for donations of this kind because it's the only way that Camp Cadet could be opened up to so many youngsters each year. Easterling said that Camp Cadet accepts about 120 participants.
“The whole purpose of Camp Cadet,” Easterling explained, “is to build a relationship between the troopers and the kids.”
During the camp, law enforcement professionals serve as camp counselors, while the cadets live in an atmosphere modeled after the State Police Academy, where the emphasis is placed on improving self-discipline, confidence, and teamwork.
Easterling explained that there are a number of activities planned throughout the week that provides the youngsters with insights into how law enforcement officers do their jobs. They might have a presentation, for example, on how a bomb squad might respond to an emergency situation. But another part of the camp is simply the fun activities of a traditional summer camp—the camp cadets enjoy things like zip-lining and swimming on the camp's grounds.
Karen Scherer, the treasurer of the MLK CommUnity Board, said that Camp Cadet is a very good cause to support, and the MLK CommUnity Board and the MLK CommUnity Advocates have made donations for Camp Cadet scholarships for a number of years.
Cathy Brison, a member of the MLK CommUnity Advocates, explained that the group first became aware of the benefits of Camp Cadets during a community forum in which police officers spoke about a number of initiatives that they have to strengthen relations with the community.
“From that, we found out some the things the police are doing, and Camp Cadet was one of those things,” Brison said.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. CommUnity of the Greater Kennett Area was founded in 2001 to help build and promote relationships based on equality, justice, and peace in the Kennett communities. The organization plans the annual breakfast that brings neighbors together to share a meal, fellowship, and the philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In addition to the breakfast, the organization carries out a number of initiatives to imrpove the community, including a day of sharing and service, food drives, scholarships, book sales, and much more.
Supporting Camp Cadet fits in nicely with the organization's mission.
To be eligible to be a cadet, the youngsters must be at least 11 and not yet 14 by the first day of camp. Cadets must also live in, or go to school in Chester County.
This year's Chester County Camp Cadet is taking place at Camp Saginaw from Aug. 12 to Aug. 17.