Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Monday, June 15, 2015

JROTC students learn what it takes to become a leader

by Senior Airman Tammie Ramsouer
JBER Public Affairs

6/15/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- During a one-week summer leadership camp, Junior ROTC cadets learn how to work as a team, and have experiences many high schoolers do not.

Most of the JROTC cadets from Robert Service, Dimond, Chugiak and Bethel High Schools come from different backgrounds and heritages throughout Alaska and the U.S.

The JROTC instructors collaborate on a system for the diverse group of cadets to participate in leadership and teamwork skills for the weeklong camp which include leaping out of a 34-foot jump tower, traversing a 35-foot rappel tower, running through an obstacle course, learning survival-swimming skills and riding in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

"We pick our teams with different members from each school so it is extremely integrated," said O'Neil Summers, Bethel High School JROTC instructor and retired sergeant first class.

"We try to incorporate as many team-building events as possible into our schedule. It shows them no matter how difficult the hurdle may be, these students are here to help and push each other to strive to get the job done or do better."

Most of the students in the JROTC course were motivated by someone or something to join. One cadet's motivation was her brother, a prior cadet.

"I joined JROTC because he made it look so great and fun," said Sydney Jones, a Robert Service High School student.

"I am glad he was the reason I joined, and I learned so much since being in the course and meeting so many new people." Jones started JROTC as a freshman.
She is now a senior and a leader in her JROTC course.

"When I joined I was pretty quiet and I didn't think I would be where I am today," Jones said.

"I am now a leader of a platoon. I like doing JROTC, because it gives me something I can be proud of."

She has gone to every summer leadership camp since joining the course to experience the rush of confidence it gives her.

"I really like to participate in everything we do during the camp and help others who may be scared or shy of a few of the events we do," Jones said.

"It's funny to hear everyone scream at the rappel or jump tower, but I know that it's just something they do to mentally prepare themselves for something that scary."

This is the first year four JROTC teams, including Army and Navy cadets, have come together and integrated.

"It was great to finally have more than just two or three JROTC groups out here participating in our annual summer leadership camp," Summers said.

"It really gets the students to interact with each other and learn from the other cultures in the different school systems."

Facilities on JBER reserved locations for the events, and Soldiers from the Alaska Army National Guard and United States Army Alaska provided instruction throughout the camp.

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