Lynchburg, Va- We're going to let you in on what some people refer to as "Lynchburg's best kept secret."
It's a program that gives middle and high school students early military training.
Students between the ages of 11 and 17 get the training they need to be at a rank two years ahead of any other person who enlists in the military, and that's not the only benefit of joining.
"I just wanted to feel what the Navy was like," said Cameran Hedlund who is a Sea Cadet.
"Just thought it would be a fun and new experience," said Karleigh Jenkins who is a Sea Cadet.
The reasons for joining are different, but these students all have one thing in common.
They are a part of The Overlord Division of the US Naval Sea Cadet Corps--It's a National Organization recognized by Congress and endorsed by the US Military.
"It gives them a drug free alcohol free environment so they can grow and become productive citizens," said Jeffrey Anderson. He is the Regional Director and came from Richmond to inspect the Cadets.
The students go to boot camp in the winter or summer-- train on weekends-- and even travel for different training sessions--all offering career exploration.
For parents, they can see first-hand the huge difference this program makes in their child's life.
"There's just a total difference for respect and honor and dignity and they way they treat people," said Kevin Knight who is the Public Affairs Officer and also a Parent of a Sea Cadet.
And the Cadets recognize it too.
"It gives you good morals and it gives you respect for others," said Colton Knight, a Sea Cadet. .
The students achieve the rank of E3 when finishing the program-- putting them two years ahead...in many ways.
"You're more likely to get accepted into the Naval Academy, Coast Guard Academy, and those academy's actually reserve spots for Sea Cadets, said Gabriel Lamartinia who is a Commanding Officer for the program.
These Sea Cadets have plans after they finish the program.
"Probably gonna go to Virginia Military Institute, do ROTC and go into the military after this, " said Henry Thelin, a Sea Cadet.
"I plan to go to college and then join the army," said Knight.
The Cadets meet and train one weekend a month-- and those who train them work on a volunteer basis. They say they want to thank the Lynchburg Life-Saving Crew and the City of Lynchburg for letting them use their building. If you would like to learn more you can head to dunedogs.org.
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Tuesday, August 19 2014 1:03 PM EDT2014-08-19 17:03:38 GMT
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