Fort Cavazos JROTC Cadet Challenge incites change

By Blair Dupre, Fort Cavazos Public AffairsJune 13, 2024

A teenager scales a rock climbing wall as two other hold their hands out below standing on the ground, and two others hold two lines of rope.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadets attempt to scale the rock climbing wall June 6, 2024, at Peaceable Kingdom in Killeen, Texas, during the JROTC Cadet Challenge. This was one of the many different high ropes activities at the facility. (Photo Credit: Photo by Blair Dupre, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL
Two teenagers hold hands while steadying themselves on separate wires tied between two trees as other look on.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadets work together to balance on two wires during the JROTC Cadet Challenge June 6, 2024, at Peaceable Kingdom in Killeen, Texas. (Photo Credit: Photo by Blair Dupre, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

KILLEEN, Texas —Students from more than five different high schools participated in the Junior Reserves Officers’ Training Corps, or JROTC, Cadet Challenge June 3-7 where they learned from III Armored Corps Soldiers.

The cadets were able to see some of the different jobs a person can do as a Soldier, including working with military dogs as they watched a working-dog demonstration. Other activities included land navigation, conquering a ropes course and water-survival training.

First Sgt. Robert Lutz site lead for the JROTC cadet challenge, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, said the event was the perfect opportunity for those who may be interested in joining the military to have a taste of what it can be like as well.

“These are a lot of young men and women who are trying to figure out if the military is something they want to do,” he said. “Getting to talk with young Soldiers and even some senior leadership about what a day in the life of a Soldier really is helps them to understand in a small amount … what it’s like to be a Soldier. One of the other things is … the students are grouped together with different classmates, and they’re getting to meet a lot of different people, really network and build relationships that will hopefully sustain them in the future.”

Cadets Yamil LeBron, Ellison High School; Jeremy Williams, Waco High School; and Gabrielle Batts, Shoemaker High School, expressed their enjoyment of the camp during a break from the high ropes.

“I’ve enjoyed being around and meeting new people, making connections and developing more friendships,” LeBron said.

Batts agreed, adding the memories being made during the week could connect them in the future.

“This experience — all of us going through the same thing — we can connect, and we have things to talk about,” she said. “Even if we see each other later in life, if most of us decide to join the Army, we’ll be like, ‘Remember JROTC 2024?’ It’s something that we’ll really hold onto in our memories.”

Williams said the camp has taught him leadership skills.

“People say that they can’t do things, but nothing is ever impossible if you put your mind to it,” he said. “We’ve all worked together as a team, which is really great. We all get to meet new people. We all get to do new things. It’s a good experience.”

LeBron said the camp has taught him many things including tying knots, problem solving and listening skills. Batts said she learned the importance of a healthy nutritious diet in keeping the body ready for physically straining tasks. Williams said he has learned anything is possible with teamwork and good communication.

“I recommend this camp so much,” Williams said. “It’s a really great experience. We get to meet great people and make connections.”

Batts agreed, saying even if someone doesn’t plan on joining the military JROTC is a great way to build one’s character and leadership skills.

“Although we are going through some things here that may seem hard — like what it says on our camp t-shirts, ‘What doesn’t challenge you doesn’t change you,’” she said. “Whatever challenges you will change you.”