BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Kids from all over the country came to Buffalo to spend one week living on board the navy vessel in Buffalo’s Naval Park. For one-week, they live and breathe boot camp, and are trained to be leaders on board the 3 war ships.
The program’s Lieutenant Commander, Kenneth Hall, said, “We are very fortunate here in Buffalo. I don’t think any other sea cadet unit in the country, and there are 360-odd units, have anything like the naval park; 3 active ships they can actually train aboard.”
From team building, to photojournalism and culinary training, the program fits it all into one week. Cadets travel to Buffalo from across the country to participate in this program. Gabrielle Allen Brown came from Salisbury, Maryland to watch her daughter graduate. She says it gives her daughter exposure to the military career field. “It gives her a chance to explore. This is her second year shes been in the program, last year we did training in Cape May, New Jersey, and so we wanted to do something different, so we came to Buffalo,” she said.
Aaron Brown takes the role of the “Senior Cadet,” and Chief Petty Officer. He’s been participating in this program since age 10 and now he’s training others. He says he has grown up through the cadet program. He said, “I was a big mama’s boy and I went to my league orientation, which all of these little kids are at, and it just changed my entire life for the most part.”
His mother, Nikki Brown, said, “He came home a totally different child, it’s amazing. I am so proud of him, watching him interact with some of the other adults here, the way he carries himself.”
Brown says boot camp isn’t a walk in the park, but in the end, the leadership skills learned are well worth it. “This program makes good kids better, that’s what the programs for. And even if they don’t get involved in the military, they still will be able to give back to the community,” he said.
Kids ages 11 to 17 can participate in the program. While many of the kids do end up taking military career paths, it’s not a recruiting program. For more information on the program, visit the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corp website.