Area high school students participate in Junior Cadet Leadership Challenge

Area high school students participate in Junior Cadet Leadership Challenge
Source: WTOC
Source: WTOC

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Many area high school students attend camps during the summer, but one group is working toward being better leaders for their community. Nearly 200 Army JROTC cadets from 16 different area high schools are spending their summer participating in the Junior Cadet Leadership Challenge at Hunter Army Airfield.

"What we want to try to provide is a challenging and unfamiliar environment for these kids to come in and teach them a little bit about leadership and a little more confidence in themselves," said Lt. Col. Michael Busteed, the army instructor at Windsor Forest High School.

That "unfamiliar environment" includes rappelling, first aid, land navigation, and many other training activities that cadets must work together on to complete.

"The lesson I'm learning is to have confidence and trust in your peers and your surroundings and to have motivation and dedication," said Larry Manning, a Richmond Hill High School 10th-grader.

Trust comes in handy for the cadets as they tackle challenges like the rope bridge station and rappelling.

"Stuff like this makes me feel out of my comfort zone and I like to challenge myself to do stuff I've never really done before," said Statesboro High School student Gail Casilli. " And this was an amazing example. I'm terrified of heights. I'm not good at this stuff at all."

Leaders said the training environments test the cadet's leadership. The camp is not for military recruiting but to help make the cadets better citizens and civic leaders.

"A significant number of them will not do military service," Busteed said. "But when they do get a taste of this and do all the adventure training, repelling, a lot of them make that final decision that 'yes, the military is something that interests me and that's something I want to go do. We're not looking to recruit them for the military. We are looking at them to be better citizens who can go back and be your civic leaders, business leaders, and many of them will do the military."

The students will continue with the challenge throughout the week. They will move to Fort Stewart on Wednesday for additional training.

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