By Nick SpinelliJune 12, 2009
FORT GORDON, Ga.--(June 5, 2009) Over 200 high school students from the greater Augusta area attended Camp Semaphore, a three-day skills enrichment program on Fort Gordon, June 2-4.
"We provide world-class training events," said Staff Sgt. Terrish Butler of the Regimental Noncomissioned Officers Academy, the organization who sponsored the camp. "Our goal was to provide realistic training with a priority on safety. Everyone gets trained, no one gets injured."
Over the course of the three day camp, students learned to rappel from a 40-foot tower, cross a body of water on a one rope bridge and use their clothes as floatation devices if they are ever lost at sea. They also ran obstacle courses and studied first aid and leadership techniques.
"We want to build leadership, camraderie and confidence," said Butler. "Each obstacle or training scenario parallels obstacles these cadets may face in their everyday lives. By being motivated and succeeding at them, they achieve a sense of accomplishment that gives them the confidence to excell in their real lives."
As the cadets are also members of their schools' Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps programs, Camp Semaphore also gave them a taste of what military training is like, should they choose to follow that path after graduation.
"I've been debating joining the Army after high school," said Jenna Hutto, a junior at Hephzibah High School. "That's why I'm in JROTC and that's why I'm here. I'm still considering it. So far it's been a lot of fun.
Hutto said the events have been both challenging and exciting, especially the rappelling tower.
"I thought I was going to be scared when we were climbing up, but there were no problems. I love adrenaline, so it was a lot of fun," she said.
Butler said Hutto's enthusiasm is what he and the other NCO's look for in cadets and that's what they recieved from everyone involved.
"All the cadets were motivated and active, and that let us put on a great camp for them," he said. In the end, that's what this is about: Supporting the community by providing a safe, fun and educational environment for students."