Learning the ropes of ROTC

By Cadet Taylor Saucier, Slidell

Last week Northwestern State University ROTC cadets exercised their leadership skills on the newly revamped and recertified ropes course. The Demon Battalion had the opportunity to learn a whole new field as cadre led the first lab of the fall semester. This lab was an amazing kick-off for the Demon Battalion, as we jumped head first into a course that would not only be educational but an exciting adventure, too. The eager cadre and attentive cadets made for a smooth fun-filled experience. However, getting the swing of the ropes course wasn’t as easy as trained cadet cadre made it look.

The ropes course requires Cadets be buckled securely in a harness and climb or be pulled to great heights while putting full trust in their battle buddies. These battle buddies control the ropes that hold them aloft. This course included four nerve-racking stations, including one which required walking across a 20-foot-high, 10-foot-long log with nothing holding you up besides the trust in your fellow cadets training with the rope down below. Cadre watched new cadets closely and trained them in each individual station, safety and rules of the ropes course. Cadet leadership provided first-hand examples as they executed each station while other cadre did the verbal briefing from the ground.

While some cadets were excited to go through the stations, it was not as easy for all. The more nervous cadets went in thinking they could not complete some of the stations for fear of falling or fear of heights. Nervous though they might be, with the help of the cadre and the support from fellow cadets, they overcame their fear and completed every obstacle. Dedicated cadre stayed past lab hours to ensure each cadet successfully executed all four stations.

The ropes course was a great way to get the ball rolling for the Demon Battalion. The lab taught leadership, overcoming fear, trust in a battle buddy and support of your team, all while having the best time. This ropes course lab showed off everything NSU ROTC stands for: leadership, trust, bravery and family. Our thanks go to Ms. Reatha Cox and the Jaycees for renovating the course.

Participating in this lab was a great learning experience and an awesome way to start my first year in the Demon Battalion. ROTC is an incredible program that has molded great leaders and continues to do so. I am proud to be a part of the program and to be learning from the instructors and Cadet cadre. Needless to say, I had a great time learning the ropes of ROTC!

Picture: NSU ROTC cadets completed their first lab exercise of the semester on a newly refurbished ropes course.