The Suburbanite
  • Green Air Force ROTC Summer Camp largest yet

  • While most of their classmates were enjoying their summer vacation, 60 Green High School Junior ROTC cadets took part in Camp Reliance at Boettler Park during the week of June 11-16. The camp started when the cadets reported to the high school gym at 3 a.m. Monday morning for orientation, to receive equipment and meet their instructors.

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  • While most of their classmates were enjoying their summer vacation, 60 Green High School Junior ROTC cadets took part in Camp Reliance at Boettler Park during the week of June 11-16. The camp started when the cadets reported to the high school gym at 3 a.m. Monday morning for orientation, to receive equipment and meet their instructors.
    Then they filled their canteens and hydrated themselves for the long day ahead. The pace and tempo of the camp is such that drinking plenty of water is stressed. The students were reminded to drink often throughout each day to prevent heat prostration or heat stroke. The cadets had access to a 400- gallon “water buffalo” to replenish their canteens and during the course of the camp.
    As the sun came up they, marched over to the Green fire station, where they took part in a day-long program of fire fighting and medical lectures, toured the station and saw how the 911 system worked.
    They also had a competition between each flight in several physical activities. After all the activities, the cadets marched to Boettler Park for more physical activity until it was time to set up their camp grounds and finally for some much needed sleep.
    The rest of the week followed much the same pattern, each day taxing the students to the maximum in order to get them to work together and help each other out.
    Members of the Ohio National Guard came out during the week to instruct them in several activities. The first was a rock climbing wall which had several degrees of difficulty. Later in the week, the cadets learned to make a rope sling and pulled themselves across a deep creek bed on a rope bridge. They also received instruction on self defense. Cadets also participated in the flag retirement ceremony at the Sheriff Campbell facility which was attended by 13th Congressional District Representative Betty Sutton, who was very impressed with the performance of the cadets.
    The students also participated in physical fitness training, helped carry out service projects and learned to carry out tasks in a specific time frame. Failure to comply meant having to do push-ups and other exercises.
    Each day they received a varied diet to keep their strength up, including eating the famous meals ready to eat rations served in the military. Depending on what they received, the students opinions of their meals varied, though being hungry did make a difference in their attitude.
    “It sure isn't like what I eat at home,” said one student.
    A special group within the unit was the “Boettler Challenge” group. This group of volunteers go through a grueling 24-hour period where they get little sleep, eat on the run and participate in special physical activities designed to test their limits. Each student must completed at least one camp prior to being allowed to go through the challenge. The challenge is a combination of Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, Marine Recon and police SWAT activities, both physical and mental.
    Page 2 of 3 - The students who complete the course receive a special Green Beret that they are allowed to wear with their fatigue uniforms at school. These are awarded at a special luncheon for the cadets and their families on Thursday. This year Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander spoke at the ceremony and administered the oath that each student took. Failure to comply with this oath will result in the forfeiture of the right to wear the beret.
    The final day of camp was devoted to cleaning up the camp site so that there was no evidence that the cadets had been there. On Saturday afternoon, parents, siblings and other relatives came out for the graduation ceremony. A special highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of a special certificate from the office of Rep. Sutton by one of her staff members, Ed Rowe, to each student. Sutton had been so impressed by what she saw at the flag retirement ceremony that she had the certifications quickly prepared so that the students could receive them Saturday. In addition to this certificate, each student also received their own camp graduation certificate. There was also a special series of awards for individual accomplishments by students during the course of the week.
    “All the challenges were met head-on,” said Chief William Karasko, who was in charge of the camp. “It was nice to see the kids come together and help each other. We expected more failures, but that didn't occur. I had a wonderful time. I would especially like to thank the seniors who came out to help. Without them we could not have pulled it off. They were Abigail Baehr, Megan Delorenzo,Jackson Moore,Kristopher Payne, Rachael Rininger, Michael Roe, Joey Salzer, Brandon Soles, Danielle Tennant and Txhim Vue. And a special thanks to Deputy Todd Hart who helped organize the camp and the help of Deputy Kevin Pearson, the Ohio National Guard, Green Parks, the Green Fire Department, Mayor Dick Norton and Sutton."
    Parent Bob Charles was proud of his daughter, Erica.
    “She is a very driven person, doesn't know the meaning of the word no,” Bob said.
    “This is a great program for an overachiever,” said his wife Joan. “She pushed herself to the limit.”
    Gina Gibson, whose daughter Angelique will be one of the cadet commanders this coming year, said, “Chief Karasko is something else, He is a driving force, picks them up, makes them respect their parents. I am so proud of what they have done.”
    Wendy Bishop had two cadets at camp, daughter Emily and son Alex. “Camp is awesome, it teaches them respect, teamwork and responsibility. It is hard leave your children to the elements,” she said.
    For Lynn Anderson, the hardest part was missing her daughter, Casandra Ward. “It was a little different not having daily contact, I went through ‘Cassie withdrawal.’ As commander of the unit the young sophomore had a tough job. I was impressed with her, I knew she could do it,” her mother said.
    Page 3 of 3 - Evidently others thought the same as she received the coveted Top Cadet award.
    Cassie learned a lot from the camp.
    “I think it teaches teamwork, it is not about you, its about other people, service, the squadron, then finally yourself,” she said. “It was stressful but as people step up you take pride in what they do and what we are doing. I think the camp lived up to its name, Camp Reliance. You have to rely on your team, you need to help everyone, and everyone helps you. The best part of the camp was seeing people work together. The worst part was having people not listen and having to repeat things.”
    Her co-commander for part of the camp, Adam Recklaw, was attending his first camp.
    “I really had fun, being a leader can be stressful, but I am proud of them, even if they fail after doing their very best,” Recklaw said. “The camp was tough but the mental challenge was greater then the physical challenge.”
    Adam received the Top Male Cadet award.
    What these young people achieved over the course of the week will hopefully stay with them forever. They may not realize it until later but they are changed, different people then when they showed up at the beginning of the camp. They are a credit to their community, their school and themselves.

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