Cadet Jarrod Royal’s Summer Camp Experience
by Cadet Jarrod Royal
My name is Cadet Captain Jarrod R. Royal. I hail from the small town of Bandera, Texas, south of San Antonio. This is my fifth year at the Marine Military Academy. I first attended MMA Summer Camp session of 2007-2008. I came back three times after that first summer as a Cadet Instructor, the roles for me being reversed. It is this that gives me a unique perspective of summer camp; the one being led and the one doing the leading. The experiences completely changed my life. I was assigned to Delta Company, run by Sergeant Major Carson.
Initially, I did not choose to come to summer camp. In fact, I was quite opposed to the idea. I arrived at MMA on a hot summer day, not knowing what to expect.
Summer Camp Activities I Enjoyed
Summer camp is filled with every type of activity, ranging from the easy to the most challenging, putting stress on your mind and body. The activities are designed to make your unit work as a team, a concept foreign to most summer campers. My favorite activities were the ones in the Back 40, an open field filled with obstacle courses, leadership reaction courses, high ropes courses, and many other activities. I loved spending time on the Back 40. The physical stress put on my body was demanding, but as I got used to it I could see my body grow stronger as the days went by. If summer camp will do nothing else for you, it will get you into tip-top shape.
Many kids come to summer camp, from different backgrounds, different walks of life. As a Cadet Instructor, this posed the greatest problem. Getting 60 some odd kids to work together as a team is not the easiest task. As a summer camper, it is also the greatest problem.
What Summer Camp Taught Me
Fortunately, I had great summer camp Cadet Instructors. As in all walks of life, you will encounter great and some not so great leaders. The trick is to emulate the great ones, and learn from the mistakes of the bad ones. I gained from summer camp the desire to lead. As a Cadet Instructor, I gained invaluable experience in leading people, manipulating them to work as a team and accomplish the goals that I and positions of authority had assigned them.
Summer Camp is not an easy thing to accomplish. For many young men, it will be the most demanding four weeks of their life. It is not for the weak hearted, or ones with no desire to succeed. It is not a boot camp, either. No kid is perfect, but if your kid has a juvenile record, he may be better suited at a school specifically designed for troublemakers. Every year, there are kids that will not make it through the four weeks because they have baggage that they refuse to throw off their shoulders and man up. These types of kids detract from the whole ideal of summer camp, developing young men into the leaders of tomorrow by instilling moral and righteous values that will serve them through all walks of life. All kids will benefit from the Summer Camp program that the Marine Military Academy works tirelessly all year round to prepare. I recommend it with the highest enthusiasm.
Cadet Captain Jarrod R. Royal