JROTC spends weekend at Raven Knob

First Posted: 4/19/2009

LOWGAP Twenty-six East Surry High School students survived a trip into the wombat cave on Saturday as well as a 50-foot jump all in the name of team work.
The students are members of the schools JROTC program and they spent the weekend at Raven Knob Boy Scout Camp participating in team building exercises.
They arrived at the camp at 8 oclock Saturday morning and split into two groups to begin the days activities. One group tackled the climbing and rappelling tower, many having to overcome fears in order to climb the 50-foot tower only to take a step over the edge. After overcoming the initial anxiety and realizing that they would not simply free fall over the edge, many of the cadets went back for a second or even a third trip over the edge.
While the cadets took turns on the rappelling tower, others took to the climbing wall on the other side. This wall was not as tall, but it took more strength and determination to pull themselves up hold by hold. For some of the cadets, these exercises will prepare them for their future in the military.
I think this will help me because when I leave for basic I hope to go to airborne school, said Michael Jones, senior.
While the rappelling tower was fun for the cadets, many of them felt it was the other activities that will help them the most in the long run. In addition to the rappelling tower, they participated in team building exercises on the ground.
One of the first challenges set to the cadets was to pass a ball around the circle as many times as possible in 15 seconds, making sure the ball touched everyones hands. On the first try, the ball only made it around once. One of the cadets suggested they stand closer together. The second time, the ball went around one and a half times. Finally, with the cadets standing shoulder to shoulder in a clump with their hands extended towards the middle while one person bounced the ball up and down on their hands, they reached a total of 55.
After completing that exercise, the cadets were blindfolded and put in a line before being marched around the woods by one of the leaders. They were led to a rope maze which they had to follow as a team, never becoming disconnected from the person in front. The exercise was meant to build trust and confidence in each other as they all had to rely on the first person in line to lead them the right way.
The rappelling was fun, but I think the teamwork games were great. They make you talk to each other and get to know each other better, said Megan Motley, junior.
I really liked being led blindfolded through the woods. It helps build confidence in team work and communication skills, said Jones.
After a day out in the sun, the cadets wrapped up the activities around 6 p.m. and headed back to their quarters for the night to play board games and do other team building activities. They spent the night at the camp and headed out around 9 oclock Sunday morning.
Major Roy Ferguson and 1st Sgt. Ron Montgomery, JROTC teachers at the school, take the cadets out once a semester to do similar activities, though this was their first trip to Raven Knob.
It helps with their morale and esprit de corps and with team building, said Ferguson of the trips. They see us in the classroom as a teacher, but out here we can get to know them more as people, as cadets. Its all about having a good time and getting to know each other.
This particular trip was made possible through a Target Field Trip Grant worth around $800. The grant made it possible for the cadets to make the trip without having to pay for anything out of pocket. All of the instructors for the event are certified in rappelling and climbing and work with the Boy Scout groups who come through the camp.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.

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