The unseasonably warm weather that ended 2015 was but a memory as dozens of current cadets and new freshmen reported to the University of North Georgia (UNG) in near-freezing temperatures on Jan. 5 – a week before classes began.
Traditionally held the week prior to the start of spring and fall semesters, Freshman Recruit Orientation Group training, commonly called FROG Week, aims to help the new cadets transition from civilian life to military student life.
It's not just cold weather that makes FROG Week in spring semester different from fall semester. Many freshman cadets at UNG choose to start their college career in spring semester, after attending Basic Training or Advanced Individual Training as members of the U.S. Army Reserve or Georgia National Guard.
|A new cadet navigates a rope
bridge during FROG Week.
While some in this spring's group of new cadets started their military training last fall, FROG Week also entails learning about UNG and how to balance cadet and academic responsibilities, according to cadet CPT Cody Waits, the officer in charge of FROG Week training.
"There are a lot of customs and traditions that we have at UNG, so that's what this week is all about, training them on our standards that we have so that when they start the semester, they fully understand what's expected of them," Waits said.
New cadets began with in-processing on Jan. 5 and ended with the traditional Crown Mountain Run and FROG Week graduation on Jan. 10. The 3.1-mile trek to the highest point in Dahlonega was the final test; after completing the run, 52 recruits recited the Boar's Head Brigade creed and were FROGs no more.
Christopher Bissett, a West Forsyth High School graduate from Cumming, Georgia, was selected as the FROG Week honor graduate. Bissett was picked for his outstanding physical ability, mental toughness, and calm when dealing with stressful situations.
FROG Week also serves as a training exercise for current cadets, too, according to MAJ Richard Neikirk, assistant commandant of cadets at UNG. Like many corps events and activities, UNG cadets plan and execute FROG Week, with oversight from Commandant of Cadets staff and Department of Military Science instructors.
"The cadets get leadership experience," Neikirk said. "They plan and execute this event with coaching and mentoring from staff, but they run the whole show. That's why I think we graduate such great cadets — they 'do' leadership 24 hours a day."
Waits, who will graduate in May and commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, agrees that the hands-on leadership experience he's gained at UNG leaves him well-prepared to begin his military career.
"If the cadre (of instructors) was to do everything for us, that wouldn't adequately prepare us for when we commission," Waits said. "Learning how to do operations orders and procedures for leading troops, we're expected to learn that when we go to our basic officers course and some of us already are going to have these skills, so it puts us ahead. This school and our instructors definitely prepare us."