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Building teamwork, and conquering fears JROTC cadets develop skills, leadership qualities at camp

  • Codey Drum climbs the wall in the training program
    Codey Drum climbs the wall in the training program
Published July 02. 2011 09:02AM

For most students summer break means vacation, the beach and video games.

But for seven cadets of the Panther Valley JROTC it meant leaving family and friends for the chance to develop their leadership qualities. The cadets left from the Panther Valley High School for the JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge (JCLC) located at "Outdoor Odyssey" facility in Boswell, near Pittsburgh.

This, military-style, four day camp provides an opportunity for cadets to put into practice the skills that they have learned throughout the year - building teamwork and conquering fears - while interacting with about 220 other cadets from across the state. The camp is also a test of the cadets' mettle as they follow the rigorous training schedule provided by camp counselors.

Some of the training includes high and low ropes course work, a 60-foot rappel tower with zip line, obstacles course, leadership reaction course, orienteering, canoeing and the dreaded "Leap of Faith", where cadets walk a plank 30- feet above the ground before jumping to reach a suspended bar seven feet away.

"Climbing the rock wall and morning physical fitness are my favorite parts." said Cadet Joe Whildin.

At the end of camp, awards were handed out for Leadership, Physical Fitness and the Most Improved Cadet. The latter was awarded to William Digiglio.

"I knew I could do this, it was tough, but I got it done," said Digiglio of his Most Improved Cadet award.

Many of the cadets were sad to see the camp end.

"Can we stay longer?" asked Cadet Amber Guzman.

JCLC is funded by the government and open to cadets from freshmen through juniors but, with space limited, they must go through a selection process as determined by the Senior Army Instructor.

"It really is the highlight of the year!" says Cadet Angela Piscitelli, a two-year camp participant.

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