Local Boot Camp For Kids Teaches Values For Daily Life
OKLAHOMA CITY - A group of local kids is spending the beginning of summer vacation training for greatness. Operation Truth Boot Camp is underway right now, with state troopers and faith leaders setting an example.
The boot camp aims to turn kids into productive members of society by teaching them respect for authority and offering positive interactions with law enforcement.
Operation Truth is a demanding two-week intensive program, not for the faint of heart.
Josiah Billingslea, 15, said, “My first year here I was a wreck. I came in, I was crying. People were yelling at me in my face. I got dropped. It was terrible, but the things that I take away from this camp I use in pretty much everyday life.”
Now, Josiah is a leader among his peers, and this is his ninth summer of the boot camp.
In its 22 years, the program has taught kids age 5 and up to call their elders ma'am and sir, open doors for others and be confident in themselves.
Micah Jones, 8, said, “We get to train and make sure we’re doing the right thing, and they help us do the right thing.”
Based at Greater Cleaves Memorial CME Church, state troopers work alongside Commander Elizabeth Adams to whip the kids into shape.
“We’re working them past what they’re normally being worked,” said Trooper Colby Cason, “and we’re teaching them that they can do things. If their mind tells them to do it, they can get it done.”
The campers also see a side of law enforcement that normally does not get much exposure. As cadets from OHP academy prepare to graduate, the kids stood at attention to watch their final flag ceremony and uniform checks.
They also got a behind the scenes look at daily operations.
Commander Adams said, “When they see a police officer or trooper, they know immediately that we respect these people. We respect what they do.”
Many campers even go on to pursue careers in law enforcement after these interactions.
“They’re not pointing a gun at me,” said Josiah, who aspires to be an Air Force JAG. “They’re trying to actually help me, instead of pointing a gun at me and saying hey, if you don’t do this I’m going to shoot you.”
To connect with organizers ahead of next year’s camp, click here.