High School Students Experience Corps Life

High school students at NLC. Photo by Mackenzie Anderson.

Even with a soggy start, the National Leadership Challenge, organized by the Corps of Cadets in partnership with cadet recruiting hosted 166 high school students to see the campus and participate in military training activities.  

The NLC is hosted once a semester on the University of North Georgia Dahlonega campus. The two battalions switch off leading the weekend each semester. The second battalion led this past weekend’s NLC on April 1-3.

The students arrived on Friday afternoon from all over the North Georgia area and even from farther out. The NLC is open to high school students from across the country. For every group of 30 students there were five cadets to guide them through the weekend and answer any questions they had. Most students came from a JROTC background and are interested in joining the Corps of Cadets at UNG. 

Students rappelling off the 60 foot tower. Photo by Mackenzie Anderson.

Students stayed at Camp Wahsega in 16-person cabins. The camp is one mile to the Mountain Ranger Camp also known as Camp Frank D. Merrill.

Saturday was packed full of activities including rappelling, rope bridge crossing and tying rope knots. 

Since the rock wall was too slick to rappel off of safely, the students learned to rappel off a 60-foot wooden tower. During this event the students learned how to handle their own ropes while cadets at the bottom of the tower made sure they were safe. At the rope bridge, the students learned how to use their arms and legs to get across the stream quickly and efficiently. 

After the activities at Camp Frank D. Merrill, the students were given Meals Ready to Eat for lunch. Then they trekked out to Pine Valley to try out the team-building obstacle courses. 

Students cross the creek using the rope bride. Photo by Mackenzie Anderson.

Before the obstacle courses, the students sat for a demonstration by
the Aggressors, a club in the Corps who specialize in light infantry and aggressor tactics. The Aggressors played out a mock battle scene where they took over a bunker from the enemy, searched the enemies bodies and cleared the area. They used smoke bombs and guns filled with blanks to replicate a realistic scenario.

Sunday, the students came back to the Dahlonega campus to debrief and go home.  

Cadet Maj. Matthew Baugh, a junior cybersecurity major and Brigade Public Relations Officer, says that about 200 cadets join the Corps each fall. 

“A lot of new freshmen have gone to NLC.” – Allyson Smith, the 2nd battalion commander, who is majoring in math.

The NLC is one of the Corps’ biggest recruiting events, and students who do join the Corps learn many leadership skills as well as build their own confidence.