Think of it as Extreme Boy Scouting: the co-ed Explorers program has trained kids across the country in law enforcement techniques for decades. But lately “our emphasis is on terrorism, illegal entry, drugs, and human smuggling,” says a Border Patrol agent of the program. That means charging around with pellet guns amid simulated terrorist showdowns or drug raids, the New York Times reports.
“This is about being a true-blooded American guy and girl,” says a sheriff’s deputy devoted to the program. Explorers groups are sponsored by various law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and local police departments. Officials hope the program will train the next generation of Border Patrol and FBI agents. But members have a variety of career plans. “I want to be a lawyer, and this teaches you about how crimes are committed,” said one.