Buried in the Blue Ridge Mountains is where America’s future protectors find their voice.

“I would like to go into office of field operations with U.S. Customs and border protection and be a u.S. Federal officer,” Senior Explorer with Post #0068, Brandon Snyder said.

The young men and women signed up for the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Explorer program are training to be our country’s next border patrol agents, law enforcement officers or service members.

“We build that discipline, that concept of hard work ethic to go out and serve our nation in a variety of different ways,” said Rafael Cano, the Assistant Chief for U.S. Border Patrol Headquarters.

The Explorers participate in a 10-week long program where they are tested physically, mentally and emotionally for hours each Saturday.

“I’ve learned to stay with things so instead of quitting halfway through I like to push through to the end,” Senior Explorer, Carson Siwulec said.

That dedication and drive shown by the Explorers trickles down from a long line of U.S. CBP agents; agents who are constantly up to date with how to keep our borders secure and citizens safe.

“We’re in a continual process of learning what we’re going to do next. We’re not just working for today, we’re planning 10 years ahead, 20 years ahead,” Cano said.

Whether threats come through ground, tunnel or sea, those at the Advanced Training Center said they are learning from the past to teach those in the present how to prepare for the future.

“Most people see it as a dirty job and there are very few people that actually want to do it. I feel like i’m one of those people that wants to do it,” Snyder said.