Students Learn About Law, Government Careers Through New Explorer Post
By REBECCA SODERGREN
Correspondent
EXPLORER POST 1963 VISITS LUZERNE COUNTY 911 CENTER -The members of Law and Government Explorer Post 1963 recently visited the Luzerne County 911 Call Center in Hanover Township. The group interacted with Call Center staff and learned about the responsibilities of Call Center employees, in addition to observing staff in action when receiving emergency calls. Luzerne County sponsors Explorer Post 1963. The program exposes youth, ages 14 to 20, to a specific area of interest through field trips, speakers and activities. For more information about joining Explorer Post 1963, please call 570-466-5558. Shown, front from left: Will Bogden, Crestwood High School; Ana Luna, Misericordia University; and Maria Luna, Coughlin High School. Back: Mitchell Awadakimow-Stec, Crestwood High School; Kyle Barley, Crestwood High School; Brian F. Black, training and protocol supervisor; Richard J. Mackey, Jr., quality assurance and training coordinator. Judge Jennifer L. Rogers and Attorney Vincent Cappellini serve as Post Advisors.

Three Crestwood High School students are members of a new Explorer Post that offers exposure to careers in law and government.

Luzerne County Judge Jennifer Rogers started the group with her husband, attorney Vincent Cappellini, to encourage high school and college students who are interested in career paths like theirs.

Interested students need not be considering law school, however. They’ll also be exposed to careers in public service, emergency services, lawmaking and more.

The group is in “fledgling status,” Rogers said, noting so far they’d had one speaker, a local attorney, and one field trip to the Luzerne County 911 Call Center in Hanover. At the call center, they talked with staff about their responsibilities and also watched while they took emergency calls.

Meetings are typically held at 7 p. m. on the first Tuesday of each month, and meetings alternate between speakers, held at the Luzerne County Courthouse, and field trips off-site.

Rogers and Cappellini needed to find five interested students, ages 14 to 20, in order to start the group. They did find five, but they would like to add more. So far, the involved students are Will Bogdon, Mitchell Awdakimow-Stec and Kyle Barley, all of Crestwood High School, plus Maria Luna of Coughlin High School and Ana Luna of Misericordia University.

Awdakimow-Stec, a ninth grader, said he wants to become a Judge Advocate General (JAG), or military lawyer, and he sees this group as a way to learn more about the field that interests him.

“So far we’ve been doing quite a few interesting things,” he said, noting the first couple of meetings had focused on topics like due process of law. He thinks he has convinced several of his friends from Crestwood High School to start attending with him. Students from any Luzerne County high school or college are invited.

Rogers is also recruiting law and government professionals to serve as speakers, mentors and job shadowing leaders.

“This could benefit potential employers, too,” Rogers said, noting employers who get involved with the group might find talented students who could eventually work for them.

Upcoming field trips may include visits to the state police crime lab and the sheriff’s office for instruction in fingerprinting. Rogers hopes to get a prosecutor and some state senators and representatives to speak to the group.

“Exploring,” which is detailed at exploring.org,is a longtime program of the Boy Scouts of America. It was initially designed for boys to do high-adventure activities and service projects. But with the recent broadening of the Boy Scouts mission, the program began to serve both boys and girls and focus on career exploration. “Clubs” are available for ages 10 to 13 at the middle school level, and “posts” serve ages 14 to 20. Clubs and posts exist for a variety of career areas, including arts and humanities, aviation, business, communications, engineering and more. Rogers noted the Wilkes-Barre Police Department started a local club and post recently. Wilkes-Barre General Hospital also has a post for health fields.

Rogers said she wanted to start a post because she was raised in a scouting family and saw the benefits of character development provided by scouting programs. “It’s an opportunity to give back to the community,” she said. “And it exposes students to a career field that I have a high degree of commitment to.”

Eventually, leadership of the group will be transferred to the students, and they will create their own yearly calendar of speakers and field trips as a means of encouraging leadership skills, Rogers said. She and her husband will continue to serve as advisors.

For more information on joining the group, becoming a speaker or hosting a site visit, call Cappellini at 570-466-5558.