Roma High JROTC Participates in Leadership Challenge
A group of 10 Roma High School JROTC Cadets joined 165 other high school US Army JROTC Cadets from across south Texas in early March at Camp Bullis in the San Antonio area to participate in the yearly JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge, better known as JCLC. This year 18 high schools attended the camp.
During four days of structured training, cadets learned the significance of teamwork, leadership, and motivation at the individual, team, squad, platoon, company, and battalion levels. Schools are authorized to bring 10 cadets each, and a few share living quarters together, but are dispersed among other camp platoons, companies and units throughout the duration of their stay. In other words, they are challenged to step out of their comfort zone to meet and team up with Cadets from other schools with different backgrounds, skills, and abilities.
“This Army JROTC Camp is a continuous educational process which provides the cadets leadership, citizenship, personal responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment, while instilling in them self-esteem, teamwork, and self-discipline," said retired Army Lt. Col. James Troia, Senior Army Instructor at Edinburg North High School and Camp Commander, said.
“So to be out here during Spring Break, not at the beach or any other vacation destination, and enduring the hardships that I endured and other Soldiers endured for years; to see them doing it, is a great thing.”
The purpose of the JCLC is to emphasize all the attributes of the JROTC program outside of the school environment. Cadets are given opportunities to serve in the roles of squad, platoon, company and battalion level leadership each day, giving each cadet valuable experience at supporting their teams.
“Cadets are not allowed to use cell phones during the camp in order to help them stay focused and improve their personal decision making,” according to retired 1st Sgt. Juan Cruz, Army Instructor at Roma High School.
The typical daily routine for JCLC attendants consists of a 4:30 a.m. wake up call, physical fitness, breakfast, and the venues assigned to each company for the day. The cadets have several challenges to accomplish during in order to graduate including mastering the descending tower, 3.5 road march up the hill, leadership reaction course, physical fitness, obstacle course, land navigation, and knots/rope bridge construction.
During land navigation training, the cadets trecked as teams throughout Camp Bullis, navigating from point to point, not knowing if they got the points correctly. Squad-level training at the Leaders Reaction Course forced cadets to think things through, communicate effectively, and band together over various obstacles.
Speaking of his experience at camp, Roma High Cadet Flores said, “Camp was a great experience where I learned to work together as a member of a team to overcome any obstacle. I was also surprised and honored to be selected as the top First Sergeant for my Company.”
Even though the camp was only four days in length, the cadets walked away with more than just leadership experience. They walked away with lasting friendships and the true knowledge of what it takes to be a leader.
Roma Instructor Sgt. Cruz added, “Any parent who would like to explore the possibility of enrolling their high school student in the program is more than welcome to speak to any instructor that works for a JROTC-hosting high school, including Roma High School. JROTC instructors are retired military personnel who continue to serve by mentoring cadets.”