Even before fall semester begins at the University of North Georgia (UNG), one can hear loud voices, shouted orders, and boots marching in formation -- the beginning of a long tradition known as FROG Week for the Corps of Cadets at UNG's Dahlonega Campus.
FROG stands for "Freshman Recruit Orientation Group" and is a seven-day program that every new UNG cadet must complete. This year, 180 new cadets completed their first week of training.
"FROG Week is a military orientation program that helps all new cadets start off on the right foot by changing from a civilian lifestyle into a military lifestyle," explained retired Maj. Richard Neikirk, assistant commandant. "We show them that this is a disciplined environment where everybody is treated the same way, and teach them teamwork and the basic structure of a military environment."
Commonly called FROGs, the new cadets face many challenges during their first week. The event begins with in-processing, getting fitted for uniforms and getting haircuts at Woody's Barber Shop — a decades-old tradition — and finishes with the traditional Crown Mountain Run and FROG Week graduation.
The days start early with physical training (PT), which is a big adjustment for some FROGs. Push-ups, pull-ups, running, or pushing a truck are all part of morning PT.
"The hardest thing is sleeping enough," and "I am tired, but I'm trying to do my very best," are common refrains from FROGs during their first days.
|The Crown Mountain Run is the final event before the
FROG Week graduation.
Though FROG Week focuses on recruits, there is an important aspect for returning cadets. In fall and spring semesters, these are the cadets who plan and execute FROG Week with assistance from various departments across campus.
"FROG week provides leadership for our experienced cadets, because they are put into the leadership positions where there are in front of and in charge of new cadets coming in," said Cadet Col. Nathaniel Cutler, commander of the Boar's Head Brigade and officer in charge of FROG Week. "So now, they are making the decisions and providing the needs of these new cadets, which allows them to grow and develop as leaders themselves."
This unique experiences creates a strong and lasting alliance among UNG cadets.
"Every cadet at UNG goes through almost the same training when they go to FROG Week. So, as they bond and get closer with their FROG-buddy and they go on to graduation or to the Army, they meet other cadets who went through the same thing, and they immediately become part of a family," Cutler said.
This fall, there are 735 students in UNG's Corps of Cadets, including the 180 new cadets who completed FROG Week. Students who join the Corps of Cadets in spring semester will complete the exercise in January 2016.
UNG is one of only six senior military colleges in the nation and is designated as a state leadership institution and as The Military College of Georgia.