The Waxhaw Police Explorer and Cadet Program was established in 2004. Explorer programs have a long history, beginning with the Boy Scouts. According to the Exploring website, “Exploring began as a senior program in early Boy Scout troops. These older boys carried out high-adventure activities and service projects, and gave leadership to young Scouts. In 1935, senior Scouts were called Explorers for the first time, and many were organized in separate Explorer crews in troops, using a senior Scout program.”
Now Exploring is a coeducational program, available for both males and females. It has become part of the Learning For Life program, which is an affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Learning for Life was originally established in 1963, and is endorsed by both the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA). Exploring programs connect youth with organizations and businesses within their community to facilitate an intensive, activity-based mentorship program.
Waxhaw’s Police Explorer and Cadet Program
Waxhaw’s Police Explorer and Cadet Program began after youth in the community expressed a direct interest in working with the police department as an Explorer program. The Cadets are ages 12 and 13. The Explorers are ages 14 through 20. Both Cadets and Explorers must be residents of Union County. There is an application process and a one-time application fee of $90. This fee helps pay for uniforms and equipment. Parental consent is necessary for those under 18 years of age.
Sgt. James Pool explained the program by saying, “Exploring has five areas of emphasis: Career Opportunities, Service Learning, Leadership Experience, Life Skills, and Character Education. Participants attend weekly meetings, which consist of classes on a variety of Law Enforcement related subjects such as patrol techniques, traffic control, K-9, and defensive tactics. Explorers may periodically ride along with a Waxhaw police officer to observe the role of a law enforcement officer. And, Explorers are able to assist in crowd control, traffic control and security during Waxhaw town special events.”
The Waxhaw Police Explorer and Cadet Program offers a unique opportunity to youth. It helps them make informed decisions about their career path through direct experience. Leadership skills are developed as participants work hands-on with the police force. The youth make new friends within the program and meet new people in the community while serving. Young people in the program stay active and out of trouble. Sgt. Pool said, “The program provides a good environment that fosters support, teamwork, care and fun. And it can lead to a sponsorship to NC Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET).”
Waxhaw’s Got Talent Fundraiser
A fundraising event called Waxhaw’s Got Talent has been organized to offset the cost of the Explorers program. As part of their efforts to involve the community, Waxhaw’s Got Talent held a logo design contest. The winner, Berno Lans, was recognized at the latest Explorers meeting, Berno is a resident of Waxhaw, but can frequently be found at WOW Taekwondo Studio, his family’s business on Providence Road. Ellen Scisciani, the owner of Tanglebriar Photography & Design, attended and took pictures. She is also a Legendary Sponsor for the Waxhaw’s Got Talent event.
Community members interested in performing in the talent contest can apply online at www.waxhawsgottalent.com. Auditions will be held Wednesday, July 19th from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm, and Wednesday, August 9th, from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm in the Community Room of the Waxhaw Police Department, at 3620 Providence Rd South, Waxhaw. Proceeds go to the Police Explorers while winners will take home cash prizes. Business sponsors are also appreciated.
The Waxhaw Police Explorer and Cadet Program meets every Wednesday from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm at the Waxhaw Police Department. Anyone interested in finding out more about the program can contact Post Advisor Lora Ramirez at the Waxhaw Police Department by calling 704-843-0353.