GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- The Grafenwoehr Training Area hosted 118 youth from Germany, Italy and Belgium for an 11-day JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge, June 15-25.

The students participated in the ropes course, obstacle course and land navigation at various Grafenwoehr training sites.

The cadets were challenged as the JMTC has 57,000 acres of ranges and training areas that provide the U.S. military and troops from partner Nations the capability of training soldiers for real-world combat.

The past two weeks the cadets trained on these same ranges.

"I thought that I was going to do bad because I don't know anything about the military. But, with the little help I gained confidence," said Yuli Shober Wienecke of Heidelberg High School, a first year JROTC student. Wienecke said that she was happy to be at camp, but she was also worried she wouldn't do well at the physical challenges.

JROTC is a program that prepares students to become leaders, make them aware of their rights and responsibilities as U.S citizens, and helps motivate students to graduate from high school.

Another student, Alex Adams from Aviano, Italy served as a squad leader at the camp. "I really like the people you meet at camp. You spend 18 hours a day for 11 days with them and you feel like you've known them forever," said Adams. His challenge, "I had to be above the standard, while serving as a leader."

The students completed their PT test on the final day of training prior to graduation. It was hot. They stood at parade rest. One by one each cadet was graded on push-ups and sit-ups and a one-mile run, much like those taken by active-duty Soldiers, but many may never see the active ranks.

The camp happens annually, after the school year ends. The students have to show an interest. "They have to want to come", said Lt. Col. Felix Pedraza, camp commander. "It keeps the youth busy, many have deployed parents and it creates a distraction. It's something we can do to support the military family."

On June 25, the JCLC (Junior Cadet Leadership Challenge) had a graduation ceremony. Brig. Gen. David Hogg congratulated all of the cadets for making it through the rough obstacles on the long, rainy cold days.

"For the past 11 days, you Cadets have had the opportunity to experience a variety of activities and tasks that forced all of you to reach inside for physical toughness and stamina." Brig. Gen. David Hogg was proud of all of the many cadets who faced their fears and pushed the limits of their physical abilities.

Page last updated Fri June 27th, 2008 at 03:22