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JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge inspires commitment, courage, and camaraderie!

June 20, 2016

More than 400 local Army JROTC cadets spent three days and four nights at Camp Flaming Arrow, a Gulf Ridge Council scouting facility in rural Polk County for the JROTC Cadet Leadership Camp.  The eager cadets ran, climbed, rappelled, swam, canoed, kayaked, zip lined, land navigated, mastered balancing on low and high rope courses, and practiced leadership skills. Every day luxuries most kids are accustomed to including mobile devices, computers, televisions and even air conditioning were prohibited for the entire experience. The diverse group of cadets who earned a spot at the camp came from 17 high schools throughout Hillsborough, Osceola, Pasco, and Pinellas Counties.  They were physically and mentally challenged to become better leaders, improve their training skills, practice teamwork, and increase self-confidence.

Cadets were assigned to four different cadres, without regard for their high school affiliation, gender, or level of capabilities.  They spent the long, hot days getting to know each other – learning to trust and support each other’s physical challenges, and encouraging each other when things got tough.   From the moment they arrived at camp, the cadets experienced a full schedule of activities that complimented and emphasized the Florida Sunshine State Standards, the JROTC curriculum, and the mission of motivating young people to become better citizens.  During the closing ceremonies, cadets were awarded team and individual awards and ribbons to wear on their JROTC uniforms along with academic credit for successful camp completion.  According to Samuel T. Taylor III, Col, (Ret.), JROTC District Resource Teacher and Director of Army Instruction for Hillsborough County Public Schools, “The JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge exposes our students to first-time experiences that increase their self-confidence, leadership skills, and understanding of the importance of teamwork.  It makes a difference in their development as young people that is significant and long lasting.”

For more information about Hillsborough County Public Schools and their JROTC programs, please call Col. Taylor at (813) 744-8900 or email him at

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