Local girl graduates from Pa. State Police Honors Academy

Local teen Anne Lambert, of Morgantown, poses with Sgt. Robert E. Bemis at the Pa. State Police Honors Academy. Photo courtesy of the Lambert family

Anne Lambert, 13, daughter of Matt and Dawn Lambert of Morgantown and a Conestoga Christian student, was chosen as the Lancaster Cadet from Camp Ware to attend Pennsylvania State Police Honors Academy in Hershey. The camp ran the week of July 21 to July 27, 2013.

Sgt. Robert E. Bemis, Director of the Honors Camp in Hershey, explained, “Camp Cadet was started 43 years ago in Butler County by Al Vish. Its mission is to bring youth together with State Troopers for positive interaction. Currently there are 26 state camps with 1,500 plus kids in attendance. About 40,000 children have attended since its inception.”

They are nonprofit 501(c) organizations with each local unit raising funds making it entirely free to the cadets.

Anne’s mother said, “We heard about the Lancaster County Camp Ware cadet program, Anne applied and was accepted. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact with the amazing men and women who serve our state.”

This week-long program consisted of physical fitness training, including sit-ups, push-ups and running, parade march, and saluting and returning salutes. Cadets eat together, bunk together and live the life of a trooper while team-building and bonding with other kids. If you fail to say ‘Yes Sir’ or ‘Yes Ma’am’, it’s push-ups or running until you quickly learn the honor code.

Anne remarked, “It was an honor to be there, a really cool program, like boot camp. We had 96 kids. At graduation I was chosen to be an Honor Cadet.” All 26 state camps nominate one boy and one girl to be an Honor Cadet at the Commissioner’s Honors Camp.

Sgt. Bemis explained, “In 1999 we decided to form a camp program to showcase the ‘best of the best.’ These 48-52 kids attend the Commissioner’s Honor Camp at the Pa. State Police Academy in Hershey, Pa.”

He continued, “We developed a routine modeled after state troopers training. It is structured to instill discipline. They are issued uniforms. There are no electronics – TV, Facebook, Twitter, etc. all go away. It is all face-to-face contact. They learn law enforcement and state government. Up at 5 a.m., they run 1.5 miles building up to 2, 3 miles each morning. A boot camp-filled day, then 8p.m. lights out.”

This comprehensive program includes drug and alcohol awareness, self-defense instruction and interaction with the Mounted Police – the horses live at the academy – and Canine Division.

This year they toured the Capitol building, had lunch at the Governor’s mansion, had a pool party at the Lt. Governor’s home and visited Gettysburg and Hershey Park.

Sgt. Bemis said, “I tell the kids this is about life. The things that you learn here, punctuality, proper dress and discipline, prepare you for the challenges of life. Many have gone on to military, law enforcement or the public sector and return to thank me for their success. I tell them this training was only five days out of your life, everything after that was you.”

Anne distinguished herself by being selected to be a Senior Cadet. She will be a peer counselor at local Camp Ware the week of Aug. 11, which is also her birthday. Her younger brother Peter will be attending as a cadet.

For more information, contact your local State Police Barracks or Sgt. Robert E. Bemis at 717-533-9111, ext. 425, or email rbemis@pa.gov. To see photos and learn more about Honor Camp go to psphonorcamp.com.

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