Cadets at the University of North Georgia (UNG) will spend Nov. 4-6 mentoring and challenging high school students from across the country during the semiannual National Leadership Challenge (NLC) weekend.
Seamus Lucy, a freshman cadet from Milton, Georgia, had an interest in pursuing ROTC in college and chose UNG after participating in NLC twice.
"I saw that you can be yourself and be a student as well as be a member of the corps. You get that student experience and that was really important for college and what I wanted," Lucy said. "Seeing a lot of cadets socializing with students in the chow hall — I wasn't expecting that and it was a big thing. One of the major things about selecting a school is feeling comfortable. That was a major deciding factor to me and my parents as well."
During NLC, high school students learn about the Corps of Cadets and experience team-building and problem-solving activities, including rappelling, ropes courses, and obstacle courses. These activities are held at UNG's Pine Valley facility and Camp Frank D. Merrill, which is approximately 10 miles from the Dahlonega Campus, and home to the 5th Ranger Training Battalion — the mountain phase of the Army's Ranger school. Cadets provide logistical support and mentor students during the weekend's activities.
NLC weekend is beneficial for both current UNG cadets and high school students who attend, according to retired Lt. Col. Tony Moss, Director of Cadet Admissions at UNG.
"It is a powerful leadership development experience for our cadets, who take an extremely active role in planning and executing NLC, including coaching, mentoring and developing the participants," Moss said. "Also, the participants gain valuable experience anchored by developing teamwork, camaraderie and self-confidence. They also have the opportunity to move outside their comfort zone and to have fun."
One year after attending NLC weekend himself, Lucy comes full circle as he will be among the cadets helping run the weekend as a team leader.
"I can kind of put myself in their shoes because I know how they feel and they're nervous and don't know if this is right for them," Lucy said. "Hopefully I can help them see what I saw — that UNG offers one of the best military programs. And I think that's pretty cool to be able to do that."
NLC participants spend two nights in rustic 16-person cabins at Camp Wahsega, the 4-H camp owned and operated by the University System of Georgia, located approximately one mile from the Mountain Ranger Camp.
To be eligible for the NLC, high school students must be at least 16 years old and have a minimum 2.8 GPA on a 4.0 scale. The event costs $115 and the deadline for registering is Nov. 1.
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