News 12 This Morning at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, May 25, 2011
AUGUSTA , Ga. --- More than 200 high school students are spending the first few days of the summer break running through rigorous obstacle courses, instead of relaxing at home. It's all a part of an annual camp tradition at Fort Gordon's Camp Semaphore
It is not your average camp. Cadets here are expected to crawl, jump across hurdles, and rappel off of walls. They're racing against time to prove to themselves they can handle the real thing.
"Probably one of the most rigorous activities we have out here," said Major Richard Howard, who is the Senior Army Instructor for J.R.O.T.C.
There are 12 obstacles that are similar to the basic training soldiers have to go through. The huffing and puffing isn't just to build stamina, it's helping them build leadership skills along with building up their team. "You have to learn how to control everything and be an example for other people," said Madeline Scott a participant of the camp.
Glenn Wright, who attends the Richmond Academy said, "Something I wanted to experience helps me stay out of trouble. This is my guideline to keep my life on track."
Wright even overcame his fear of heights on this day as he made his big leaps down the wall. "Yeah I'm scared of heights, don't ride roller coasters or anything, but when I did that, it was fun."
More motivation is the motto here, as students are pushed to their limits against all the elements. Sgt. First Class Carlos Smith who is instructing some of the students at the camp said, "For one its hot. The average teenager isn't used to being here for this amount of time. Plus their heart rate goes up from 0 to a very high number."
J.R.O.T.C instructors have noticed a difference over the years when it comes to fitness in their students. "We're noticing a lot of the kids are not hydrating. They like the soda pop and that stuff," said Major Howard.
For the students that do make it through the obstacles it's not about the prize at the end. "I enjoyed it. The wind, the feeling of going down, the rush going through your blood especially, when you jump off and are coming down."
They're focused on the experience that made them realize they can survive anything. At the end of the four day event their times will be compared and one group will be taking home the the trophies and medals. There are three companies competing against each other. Their training also includes land navigation, first aid training and water borne safety.