PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- Nine Border Patrol Explorers from the southern Californian city of Chula Vista experienced military life during a first-ever visit to the Presidio of Monterey, July 1.
The cadets are part of a cooperative program between the Boy Scouts of America and U.S. Customs and Border Protection that gives 14 to 21-year-olds a hands-on opportunity to learn about federal law enforcement and other uniformed services.
The troop which hails from Explorer Scout Post 1326 near San Diego, wouldn't normally have made the 450 mile trek to Monterey, but a junior law enforcement competition in Modesto last weekend allowed for Monday's chance visit.
The Explorers' day began with a visit to the Defense Language Institute Spanish, Korean and Arabic classrooms, followed by a taste of military cuisine at the chow hall and a tour of the brand new Marine barracks.
Later they visited the Presidio Police Department at the Ord Military Community, where Army police officers showcased the inner-workings of the police station while answering a battery of questions about Army-styled federal law enforcement.
Nicholas Munoz, 18, the explorer student-leader, won't get to enjoy ocean-view barracks when he leaves to become an infantryman at Fort Benning, Georgia, later this month; but said he saw "how important linguists are," calling their training "intense."
Jacqueline Aguirre, 19, who recently joined the explorer program, said she felt "empowered" seeing female service members excel at the language school.
"As a girl, it's impressive to see females in the Army," she said. "It gives me the encouragement that I can do it too."
The native Spanish speaker said the training resonated with her love of languages. Aguirre who had to learn English as a second language is now one French class away from graduating junior college. Next she plans on tackling Korean.
Ultimately, she hopes Monday's short visit will keep the fire behind her dream of becoming a forensic scientist at the FBI, ignited.
"I'm going to remember the dedication these people have and the expectations I need to push myself further," she said.