WAIANAE, Hawaii - As the sun rose across Pililaau Army Recreation Center, Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps cadets from across Oahu, Alaska and California geared up for a multi-day team physical fitness challenge to hone their skills of leadership; right along side them were Soldiers of 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. The Soldiers helped grade, coach and cheer on these young adults in the 13th Annual Waianae Adventure Challenge April 20th and 22nd.
"These cadets have tenacity and have a spirit that is formidable that inspires the other cadets around them to do better," said Sgt. Jasyn Rice, a Soldier with D Company, 65th Brigade Support Battalion. "The leader development aspect about this competition is evident. I can easily see the cadets pushing past their own physical limitations. They're learning more about themselves and their fellow cadets then they would anywhere else."
This event aimed to give the cadets that excel in their schoolwork a chance to experience a challenging and exciting competition that emphasizes cadet growth in leadership, teamwork, and camaraderie.
"These cadets are out here applying what they learn in the classroom with instructors assessing them every step of the way," said Master Sgt. Conrad Koki (Ret.), a Roosevelt High School Assistant JROTC Instructor. These cadets have done a lot to get here; they have done everything from the logistics and coordinating. Everything that these cadets do here is surrounded around teamwork. There isn't anything they do here that can be accomplished alone, they have to work as a team."
The teams of cadets were broken into three categories; Male, Female and Mixed. Each of these team types were told to use their strengths to over come the challenges over the weekend. These challenges included; an Army Physical Fitness Test, canoeing, military movements, rappelling, obstacle course and cross-country team run.
"They're a bunch of young competitors trying to strategize how to do the best in each event; you can tell it means a lot to them," said Staff Sgt. Keith Vinson, a Soldier with B Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment. "They're learning the importance of being in charge and setting the pace for everything that the team does."
This is the 13th year that the JROTC of Hawaii has held this event. The organizers credit their volunteer force for much of the success over the years.
"We rely on the support from the local community, volunteers like myself and the local units to lend support," said Koki. "It means so much to these kids to have this opportunity to develop and learn."
JROTC, similar to the college level program, ROTC, aims to develop the next generation of leaders by striving to bring out the potential in these young adults.
"Just from being out here, I've noticed that in each team there will be one or two natural leaders that continue to drive the team," said Sgt. Arthur Brown, a Soldier with D Company, 1-21 Inf. Regt. "Leadership is not just about leading, but learning how to be a follower as well."