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Camp Cadet Celebrating 30 Years

As Centre County's Camp Cadet celebrates 30 years, a teen who attended the camp is looking back at how participating sparked a career interest.
As Centre County's Camp Cadet celebrates 30 years, a who attended the camp is looking back at how participating sparked a career interest.

Katelyn Basalla first attended Camp Cadet in 2005.

"Katie Basalla was a cadet in my squad when I was just a counselor," says Kelly Aston, a State College Police Officer who runs the girls week of Camp Cadet. "She was just 13-year-old.  This was a girl who was very shy and very quiet and very unsure of herself; she cried at the first campfire. She really persevered throughout the week and really learned a lot about herself."

Ever since then, Basalla has been hooked, becoming a junior counselor and counselor.

"Camp cadet has really changed me as a person," says Basalla.  "It not just made me see what law enforcement is really about. I mean, I gained self-confidence, I have more self-esteem and I can just handle my person as a fine young lady right now."

Through camp, Basalla's relationship with Aston grew and developed.

"I mean to me, she's a friend," says Basalla.  "I don't call her Miss Aston anymore; I call her Kelly.  She's just been like my mentor in life. I see her and I see my dreams becoming a reality."

Aston's mentorship has helped solidify Basalla's decision to pursue a career in law enforcement and that is why she keeps going back to Camp Cadet year after year.

"I just really do camp because I want to give back to the program that gave so much to me," says Basalla.

Aston says the camp has evolved over the last 30 years from where participants just got to know law enforcement members to what it is now, where teens, like Basalla, can find their strengths.

The Boys' week for Centre County's Camp Cadet is July 27-August 2 and the girls' is August 3-9.  The State College police are accepting applications until June 20.

For more information, visit their website here.

For Somerset or Indiana Counties' Camp Cadet, visit here and for Clarion, Clearfield, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, McKean Counties', visit here.

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