JROTC programs select their top cadets to attend the JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge (JCLC). SWACC usually has 10 slots available, but this year they were able to take 17 students.
The cadets swam, rappelled, canoed, marched and competed in athletic competitions with over 250 cadets from a four-state region.
Cadets live and eat in a military environment. The highlight for the cadets was a ride in a Blackhawk helicopter.
"The ride was so cool," said Cadet Kayela Crocker, of Wheaton. "That was my first plan ride and in a helicopter. Now I'm thinking about becoming a pilot. It was just awesome."
Cadets toured the civil war battlefield and museum at Lexington. They went swimming in the indoor pool and received military drown-proof training.
"Cadets all loved jumping in with their uniforms on," said LTC Maella Lohman, senior army instructor for the SWACC program. "It's just kind of neat to learn to make floaters out of their uniform shirts and trousers.
"Rappelling on the metal tower is also a challenge," Lohman explained. "It's a lot harder than our tower and pretty intimidating. Once you conquer that tower, you feel like you can conquer anything."
Cadets fished using survival gear, completed an outdoor compass land navigation course and participated on a muddy obstacle course. On the last day of camp, there were platoon competitions in most of the training events with the addition of a one-rope bridge across a stream and a drill team event. All of the events were timed, and SWACC came in third place in the water can carrying event.
"Being with students from other schools and competing with them for leadership awards was really good," said Cadet Jackson Dempsey, of Monett. "We got really close to the cadets from Hillcrest who were in our platoon."
Cadet Kendal Cooper, of Cassville, won the platoon leadership award and received a special plaque from the Camp Commandant, LTC Harry Cunningham, from Smith Cotton High School, in Sedalia JROTC.