News: Indiana high school students take charge
Story by Capt. Jessica Cates
CAMP ATTERBURY JOINT MANEUVER CENTER, Ind. — The study of ethics, citizenship, communications, leadership, life skills and other subjects designed to prepare young men and woman to take their place in adult society are not something you will find an average high school student doing during summer break this year.
This summer, students from across Indiana, including Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Gary, South Bend, Evansville, Muncie, Vincennes, Hartford City, Hobart and Terre Haute, decided to give up a week of their summer vacation and add military field training to their resume while at Camp Atterbury for their annual summer camp for the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, July 10-16.
The 270 students who participated in the week-long training event endured obstacles and conquered fears, both physical and mentally challenging. First year participant, Hannah Burris from Muncie Central High School, said she decided to come this year to build confidence in herself while following in her families footsteps of one day possibly joining the service. “I want to be a leader,” said Burris. Other cadets said they joined to learn about team work, while some joined to fill the spare time they had in their days.
There is no expectation for cadets to join the military through the JROTC program, although some will join senior ROTC during college or become active.
“I always ask the cadets why they want to join the military and make sure they do it for the right reasons,” said retired Master Sgt. John Boone, instructor at Arsenal Tech. The students who participate in JROTC must also maintain good grades and discipline, Boone added.
Cadets were awakened by 6 a.m. each morning to start the day’s events to include the confidence course, water survival, map reading, rappelling and boat operations to name a few, all while battling the ninety degree heat. The heat didn’t stifle the cadets though as only screams of joy erupted from them as they cheered on their fellow students and the new friends they made while at Atterbury.
From a beginning of six units in 1916, JROTC has expanded to 1,645 schools today and to every state in the nation and American schools overseas. Cadet enrollment in the nation has grown to 281,000 cadets with 4,000 professional instructors in the classrooms. Comprised solely of service retirees, the JROTC instructors serve as mentors developing these young citizens of our country.
Whether they joined for military experience, to meet new friends or build their own self confidence, all the cadets learned a little more about each other and themselves while having a little fun this summer.