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No offenders to attend private Milner boot camp

By Sherri Ellington Some Milner residents are up in arms over a military style private boot camp on 48.5 acres on Zebulon Street in Milner. The cause, said city administrator Harold Wilson, is the initial flyers for the camp erroneously said troubled youth would be camping there. ’Jason James, who lives on Moore Street, came in (to city hall) with his plan to have a physical training facility,’ said Wilson. ‘There will be boot camps for mostly small groups of people, five to 10. It’ll most likely be weekends only and possibly during summer. It would be hard to do during school.’ Wilson said the initial brochure did mention troubled youth but that was intended to mean a parent could come through the course with a child. ’There won’t be any juvenile delinquents,’ he said. ‘That wouldn’t do. The old brochures did get some distribution and they took responsibility for that.’ Wilson okayed a business license for the property, which is zoned for mixed use, and let Milner city council know at the next meeting. As administrator, he is authorized to approve such licenses. ’There’s nothing else on the property,’ he said. ‘It’s all woods. I went to the open house and it’s a physical fitness course complete with tires and walls. They teach water sterilization and first aid, tent-pitching and building lean-tos. It’s a little more adventurous than Boy Scouts. They’re trying to keep it away from traffic and houses. You can’t see a house or road from the area but they do enter by a city street’ due to safety and Department of Transportation regulations and costs regarding entry and exit cuts into the fourlane. In the brochure and online at georgiabootcamp. org, it includes what is described as a tactical paintball course. Wilson said it is small. He said six or seven JROTC students from Jonesboro were there during open house ‘“ James is a former Clayton County sheriff’s deputy and a former Marine and invited the youth. ’They were well spoken and polite,’ said Wilson. ‘They just rattled the information off. I was very impressed with them. One has already been accepted to West Point.’ According to its website, Georgia Boot Camp offers extreme team building and leadership enhancement in an outdoor military style environment run by James. There is also a physical fitness Find Your Motivation boot camp designed to jump-start the metabolism for healthy weight loss in an outdoor military style environment. Adult courses are for 18 and over and youth courses are for ages 15-17.’There’s no doubt Jason knows what he’s doing,’ said Wilson. ‘He built the camp himselfand it’s very rustic, as it’s supposed to be.’ Boot camps, offered all year, include tactical survival camps for ROTC students, Royal Rangers, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and youth groups that aim to strengthen character and build self-confidence. ’Those who sign up are on their own,’ said Wilson. ‘Their parents have to pay for it.’ Using live venomous and non-venomous snakes, it also teaches easy, quick identification of snakes, venom andits effects on the human body and the most important part of any snake encounter ‘“ avoidance. The class is taught by Jason Clark of Southeastern Reptile Rescue (SnakesAreUs. com), based in Orchard Hill. ’He presents schoolprograms all around the state,’ said Wilson. ‘Both men are well-known and there was no need nor requirement for a criminal background check.’ Both men are affiliated with Rock Springs Church but neither the church, the local JROTC in the schools nor the local Boy Scouts are affiliated with the private business. Clark is a nationally recognized reptile handler with over 25 years of wildlife experience. He is a certified master naturalist through the University of Georgia and provides over 500 hours of wildlife education each year in Georgia. He is one of a dozen state alligator trappers in Georgia and is a nuisance wildlife controller licensed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. In 2008, Clark signed with Animal Planet which produced a reality TV series revolving around his family’s life in Georgia. The series aired on Animal Planet in the U.S. in 2010. He works on numerous film projects each year with his many reptiles. He also has a background in law enforcement, assisting first responders and consulting on hazardous situations around the clock.

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