F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE – Cadets attending Junior ROTC Cadet Leadership Camp visited F.E. Warren Air Force Base June 10 and 11, 2021. JCLC is a five-day camp designed to develop cadets’ leadership skills and deepen their sense of community involvement.
“JROTC as a whole is meant to build a better citizen,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Rodger Harder, instructor for Cheyenne Central High School Army Junior ROTC.
The selfless nature of the Junior ROTC program cultivates an inclusive sense of belonging for cadets even though most Junior ROTC cadets do not end up joining the military, according to Harder.
"You don’t have to be in the military to be a leader and we teach them that,” said Harder. “We probably spend a thousand hours a year, minimum, giving back to the community. Honor guard, picking up trash, helping out with the elderly - we’re always doing something.”
Being involved in one’s community can increase the amount of pride one holds for their community, according to Alayna Rowan, East High School Air Force Junior ROTC cadet.
“If you accidentally miss the trash can, you’re like ‘Oh, I have to pick that up,’ or when you see trash, you’re like ‘Oh, I have to pick that up, too,’” said Rowan. “It just makes you look through a different perspective.”
Rowan has had family members serving in the United States military since the civil war, and being in Junior ROTC while in high school is helping her get a taste of what being in the military might be like.
“This is a family to me now, and I understand why my family has gone back,” said Rowan. “[I] was like ‘heck yeah’.”
Matthew Harvey, Kelly Walsh High School Marine Corps Junior ROTC cadet, wishes to join the Marine Corps once he is out of high school and is using his Junior ROTC training to prepare for an active duty military career.
“I’ve gotten a lot more feedback from actual active duty military people about how they first felt when they joined in,” said Harvey. “I want to get prepared.”
Harvey has gained insight on becoming a good leader while attending Junior ROTC.
“Leadership is motivating others without yelling at them,” said Harvey. “You try to make it so they want to do what you want to do, and not through forcing them.”
Rowan has learned from her Junior ROTC experience that a good leader has to be able to place trust in their followers. She received first-hand experience on how contacting two or three squad leaders is more appropriate than manually trying to track down every individual cadet.
“You can’t take care of all of the little details by yourself, especially when you have 74 cadets to look after,” said Rowan.
F.E. Warren AFB sets an example for Junior ROTC cadets on practicing community involvement, according to Harder.
“You’re building your Airmen and making them better citizens,” said Harder. “We’re taking our young students to make them better citizens within the community.”
The efforts of the 90th Missile Wing make it possible for JCLC cadets to experience F.E. Warren AFB and learn skills that will enable them to be successful, according to Harder.
“We could not do this and make it such a success without their approval and their back,” said Harder. “I can’t say enough about how appreciative we are to allow us to be on base to have your people be exposed to our kids and vice-versa.”