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East Rowan JROTC attend Camp Barnhardt

By Dalton Lambe

East Rowan High School JROTC cadet

On Sept. 24 and 25, the East Rowan JROTC Battalion went to Camp Barnhart for opening encampment. A total of 91 cadets from East Rowan and West Brunswick high schools were present. The cadets were able to do a variety of activities which included rappelling, rock climbing, zip lining, orienteering, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding and swimming. This camping trip was a great opportunity for first-year cadets to learn about some of the activities that JROTC does.

The East Rowan JROTC Battalion arrived early Saturday to set up camp and receive their orders for the day. They joined West Brunswick to create platoons, learn which activity they would go to first, when to leave each station and when lunch would be. Cadet Lt. Col. Richey, who is the East Rowan JROTC battalion commander, explained the orders and activities that the cadets would do Saturday. He also coordinated with West Brunswick to make sure everything went smoothly. Richey walked around to make sure the cadets were enjoying themselves and that everything was going right at each station. Each event was three hours, which gave cadets ample time to complete each activity.

At the waterfront, cadets learned how to kayak, paddleboard and canoe. The senior JROTC instructor Lt. Col. Greg Skelly and two lifeguards, Wyatt Zander and William Sigmon, both former cadets of East Rowan, supervised them. Cadets had to learn to work together to operate the canoes. This was a great way for them to learn teamwork, which is a huge part of JROTC.

At the rappel tower, cadets were able to rock climb, rappel, or ride the zip line. The tower was set up by Sgt. Maj. Boardman and 1st Sgt. Clendenin along with senior cadets who are certified rappel masters. Even though some cadets were afraid to go off the tower, a majority of them couldn’t get enough of it, especially a cadet named Jamie Cross. Cross was a huge motivator for people on the tower. She was continually urging cadets to go down the tower while going down it numerous times herself.

During orienteering, cadets were taught by 1st Sgt. Smith and other cadets from East Rowan including the orienteering team commander. They learned how to get a pace count, read a map and work a compass. The cadets had to walk all around Barnhart to find six points. This course helps cadets because they will use it in JROTC and in real life. It is a valuable asset to know if they ever get lost.

This experience was a great opportunity for cadets to learn about the amazing activities that JROTC does and what they can look forward to. Opening encampment also introduces them to cadets from other schools so they can meet new people and make friends. Cadets who go to opening encampment also enjoy the esprit de corps of JROTC, which helps cadets come together as a family. Open encampment has and will continue to be one of the most influential experiences for a cadet in JROTC.

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