ROTC CADETS ENROLL IN SUMMER LEADERSHIP PROGRAM
From learning water survival skills and computer defense to team building and career exploration, more than a hundred cadets from ROTC programs in Bossier, Natchitoches and Red River Parishes, as well as Oklahoma, are spending the week in Summer Leadership School.
In its 39th year, ROTC instructors from Bossier Schools are providing oversight but higher ranking cadets are essentially running the show.
“It’s cadet-run,” explained Col. Tony Zucco, Haughton High School’s ROTC Instructor. “Instructors are there to help and teach the academic portion of it.”
Each morning begins with drills, followed by seminars on leadership and goal-setting, citizenship and the academics associated with ROTC. There are plenty of outside activities, too.
A sampling of what cadets will do this week includes a day at Camp Minden, where they will repel and work on team-building skills, go through obstacle courses and spend time at the electronic weapons range. Another day will be spent at Barksdale Air Force Base for an introductory lesson in military careers; and yet another, in a pool learning water survival skills and experiencing the numbing effect of hypothermia when cadets dunk their hands in buckets of ice for an extended duration.
“It’s physically demanding,” Col. Zucco said. “This whole school is about team and less about individual.”
Cadet Lt. Col. Treasure Winters, who is in Parkway’s ROTC program, is serving as a cadet instructor at Summer Leadership School. While keeping a close eye on her charges, she voiced the importance of team building activities.
“I think that actually prepares you for jobs in the real world,” Winters said.
Colonel Zucco also stressed the value of Summer Leadership School as a whole.
“If we don’t have Summer Leadership it weakens the (ROTC) program. It creates synergy,” Col. Zucco said, pointing out how instructors from different school programs share their various areas of expertise with the students.
For example, one instructor excels at drill and teaches that lesson, while another’s field of interest is Cyber Defense.
“We all work together and lift the program up,” Zucco added.
This session of Summer Leadership School will end Saturday, June 15, with a graduation parade at 9 a.m. It will be held at Airline’s practice football field, followed by a graduation ceremony at 10 a.m. in the school auditorium. It is when cadets will learn the winners of group and individual competitions.
They will all take something home, though; leadership skills and self-confidence that will be forever instilled within these cadets, no matter where their paths lead them.
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