Monday, August 16, 2010

Camp Snoopy

So this week is the week known as "Camp Snoopy" to the academy recruits. But so far, things have been pretty calm. JT's first day was relatively uneventful, with the emphasis being mostly on structured, in-class learning.

His firearms instructor is fairly laid back, and insists that the recruits don't need to go through the formalities because they slow everything down. Normally, if a recruit has a question in class, he has to stand, stare at a space in front of him, say "Sir" and introduce himself. Then he can pose his question and top it with a final "Sir." But this is time-consuming and some instructors prefer to focus on the learning objectives.

The recruits also spent some time in PT with their fitness coach. She told them that they had five minutes to do as many push-ups and sit-ups as they can. JT actually had the lowest number of push-ups of the class: 75. But he felt okay with that. The coach had said that recruits who do less than 50 tend to struggle with the academy. With 25 over that, he's doing OK.

He told me today that he doesn't care if he's not the most athletic in the class. As long as he gets through all the exercises and doesn't draw attention to himself he is fine. But the goal that is closest to his heart is to be the top of his class academically. He is driven to score the highest on the tests and to be the best at memorizing commands and such.

Some officers from his department happened to be practicing at the shooting range nearby today. They saw the name I stenciled on JT's shirt and pants last night, and called to him. They asked him if he's going to pass academy.

"Sir, yes sir!" JT said, smiling.

"You'd better!" they said. "Because it's just day one. And we've got people watching you. Understand? We're watching you."

(Then, according to JT, they waited until they had put some distance between themselves and him before breaking out into a chuckle.)

It's a relief and a blessing to hear how friendly everyone at JT's new police department is. Many police departments hold their rookies at arm's length, letting them know they are not full members of their team. Not JT's department. Perhaps because they are so small, they seem like they've all been informed there's a new recruit and they're curious about him. Like Harry Potter, everyone already knows his name.

JT's anxiety is, according to him, getting a bit better. He's been meditating and this is helping some. I thought it might; it's all in the mind. A big thank you to the other wives who have written me with support and advice for dealing with this. At the moment, he is improving.

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