From paint guns to exercise, junior cadets learn the ropes
By Lt. Angelo Gonzalez, AA/Public Information Officer
Mule Creek State Prison
Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP) recently held its second Junior Academy on the grounds of the prison and the nearby deactivated Preston Youth Correctional Facility.
The Junior Academy was designed to replace Bring Your Child to Work Day and to give the children of MCSP employees a chance to learn more about the job their parents do every day and expose them to the field of correctional law enforcement.
In mid-July, 34 participants, ranging in ages from 9 to 15, were part of a week-long junior academy in which they received instruction on a wide range of topics such as Fire Suppression, Social Media Security, Firearms Familiarization, Weapons Qualification with paint ball equipment, Basic First Aid, Contraband and Drug Interdiction strategies and Crisis Response Team weapons and tactics.
Along with educational courses, the junior cadets also participated in physical training each morning which emphasized both fitness and teamwork.
On the first day of the academy, Fire Capt. R. Makemson arranged to have a helicopter fly onto prison grounds from REACH Medical Air Services. The junior cadets were able to climb on board the air ambulance while the pilot gave a description of the systems on-board.
This was one of the highlight of the week for many of the junior cadets, they said.
The academy concluded with a graduation ceremony, an inspirational speech by the warden, presentation of certificates and a barbecue for all involved.
The academy was the vision of MCSP Warden Joe A. Lizarraga and organized by In Service Training Lt. Nate Costa.
Lt. Costa tapped into the expertise of various staff volunteers and instructors. The curriculum created a fun, informative and memorable week for the children and staff involved.
“The best part of the academy was at the end of the week when the junior cadets approached me and expressed how much they learned and the great friendships they made. The smiles on their faces were priceless,” said Warden Lizarraga.
Many of the children could be heard during the event talking about how they hope to work for the Department someday.
“Our youth are our future, so as a Mule Creek State Prison family we must do everything possible to raise them well. It is my priority to continue to incorporate family into our vision and core values, and to give back to our staff and our community,” said Warden Lizarraga.