By CHARLESE WEBB
For Starkville Daily News
Nine Starkville High JROTC cadets were among the 181 cadets that participated in JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge (JCLC) Summer Camp from June 3-8, 2011, at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
JROTC cadets from all eight Jackson Public High Schools (JPS) and high schools in Hattiesburg, Jefferson County, Port Gibson, Velma Jackson, South Pike, North Panola and Starkville along with Twenty-three Junior ROTC instructors and ten chaperones helped to make this yearsâ€™ camp successful and safe.
JCLC is an annual camp that is designed to further develop the leadership skills through interactive personal and group experiences. Cadets develop new skills and future develop their character that strengthens them now and in the future. Through these experiences cadets learn how and when to lead others and the importance of teamwork in accomplishing a common goal.
The campâ€™s opening ceremony included a welcome by Sergeant Major Michael Thompson, Operations Officer, 1st Brigade, U.S. Army Cadet Command, which provided an overview of the exciting and challenging training the cadets would participate in during the leadership program. The
As promised, the next few days were filled with adventure training activities designed to help develop cadetâ€™s leadership skills and to help them gain an appreciation for the importance of teamwork. The cadetsâ€™ days started early and ended late as they rappelled from a 50 foot tower, jumped blindfolded from a diving board into a swimming pool as part of water survival training, constructed rope bridges used to maneuver across a stream, worked together to negotiate numerous obstacles on a teamwork development and obstacle course, exerted physical strength, determination and personal courage as they negotiated the high ropes course at a climbing complex and enjoyed the challenge of maneuvering rafts during waterborne training.
The cadets also received excellent mentoring sessions from recently commissioned Army Second Lieutenants. These lieutenants, who were also recent college graduates, were at Fort Knox to participate in the Armyâ€™s Leaderâ€™s Training Course, and they took advantage of the opportunity to serve as role models and provide mentoring to the Junior ROTC cadets. The cadets also experienced the Armyâ€™s highly interactive educational display equipment, which is used across the country at high visibility events to promote education and increase awareness of what the Army has available to youth.
The cadets also participated in some relaxing activities including a guided tour of the General George C. Patton Museum at Fort Knox and a visit to the Post Exchange (Armyâ€™s version of Wal-Mart). The cadets also visited the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky and the Holiday World Amusement Park in Santa Claus, Indiana.
Prior to departing Fort Knox, the cadets participated in a closing ceremony where Sergeant Major Thompson presented each of them with an identification tag highlighted with the Armyâ€™s seven values â€“ Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage. The cadets also received an 8x10 group photo of their assigned platoon, along with a Certificate of Completion, t-shirt and cap. Top performing cadets were recognized and presented a U.S. Army or JPS Medallion of Excellence and each cadet and will also receive DVD of the events.
SHS JROTC top performing cadets: Jamaiyah Covington, received the top award- JCLC 2011 Honor Cadet; Cadet Flavia Gallegos was recognized as the Top Cadet of the day from her platoon; Cadet Gabriel Myles was recognized for his excellent rappel from the 50FT tower. Cadet Charles Hughes, was recognized for his physical ability by winning the push-up contest; Cadet Jamaiyah Covington, Cadet Nick Estrada and Cadet Gabriel Myles were among the 11 cadets selected to have breakfast with MG McDonald, Commanding General of Cadet Command. Cadets, Dheer Patel, Duanna Rogers, Kentrell Spencer and Stacy Young volunteered and were evaluated in leadership roles of squad leader or platoon leader.
The experiences, teambuilding skills and self discovery learned during JCLC Cadet Leadership Challenge Camp can be used in the classroom and throughout their lives. The JCLC Leadership Challenge is a very memorable, positive and educational experience for all involved.