HUDSON (CBS) – It’s a summer camp experience for kids that’s not like any other because this one is all about police work.
The Hudson Police Department has held a youth academy every summer for 13 years, and for these kids, it’s an eye-opener. It’s part boot camp and part summer camp for about 40 Hudson school kids.READ MORE: What To Know Before Booking Your Summer Trip
The morning starts with a one-mile run, and on this fifth and final day, they run to St. Michael’s Cemetery and stop for a moment to salute fallen State Trooper Thomas Clardy.
“We saluted Trooper Clardy because he made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Xavion Newton Clark, one of the kids in the academy.
The rest of the day, the young cadets conquer the obstacle course, learn to handle firearms safely using mini paintballs as ammo and find out what it’s like to be a SWAT officer.
“It’s an opportunity for kids in Hudson in sixth, seventh and eighth grade to get out of their comfort zone, to try things they didn’t think they’d be able to do,” said Hudson Detective Chad Crogan.
“I wanted to do it for myself so I could push my limits,” said Olivia Scafidi, who is enrolled in the academy.READ MORE: Rideshare Customers Frustrated By Driver Shortage
There’s an emphasis on discipline as well as fun.
“It was really strict, but that helps a lot of people do what they’re supposed to do,” said camper Maddie Haher.
These youngsters are learning about police work in a way most people never get the chance to while developing relationships with members of the force.
“You learn a lot about what a police officer does on a daily basis, like crime scenes and traffic stops,” said camper Cameron Lambert.
And at the end, there’s graduation and recognition of how far these campers have come in just a week.MORE NEWS: School Bus Driver Arrested In Norfolk After Students Find Loaded Gun
There’s a second camp for Hudson kids next month, and it’s free. Some of the first young people who went through the experience were inspired by it into adulthood. Several of them are about to graduate from the police academy.