~~CARLSBAD, Calif. – While most teenagers laze through the summer doing very little, 150 middle and high school teens are learning leadership, character development, and team-building skills that will last them a lifetime at one of two leadership camps. And, they’re doing so steps away from the Pacific Ocean, on the Army and Navy Academy’s beachfront campus, located in this North San Diego County community.
Now in its sixth year, the four-week “Camp Challenge” Leadership and Education Training Course for grades 9 through 12, is the only program of its kind west of the Mississippi where young men and women follow the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) regimen taught during the school year at the all-male academy. Those completing the program earn the equivalent of a full year of Leadership Education and Training credit that enhances resumes for colleges and universities. The curriculum consists of daily leadership and citizenship courses, including physical training and sports; as well as leadership and teamwork exercises at nearby Camp Pendleton.
The middle and high school Leadership Development Program, introduced in 2012 for 6th through 12th grade students, develops self-discipline, leadership, multi-tasking, relationship-building and conflict-resolution skills during a two-week stay on the academy campus.
“This is not a military camp per se; those who come here are interested in learning what leadership in general is all about. They are able to test themselves and develop those skills,” said Charles Morone, an alumnus of Army and Navy Academy and University of San Francisco graduate who is a camp instructor. “It gets them out of their comfort zone where they can learn who they are and what they can do.”
Tarrin Fair, also an instructor who attended the camp for two summers, was a student with C’s and D’s and not much drive when he first enrolled. He returned to school in Ventura County to earn A’s and B’s and is currently attending Northern Arizona University. “I had changed tremendously by the end of the first summer,” he recalled.
Tyler Beach, also a camp alumnus, currently attending UCLA, enrolled as an Army and Navy Academy Cadet after completing the summer camp program and touts the relationships formed by participants.
“I got to know more about the guys I lived with during summer camp than people I had known all my life,” he said. Beach said parents are often astounded by how their teens talk and behave when they return home.
U.S. Army Second Lieutenant Arden Tran, an Army and Navy Academy and University of San Diego alumnus, said camp participants learn character through having responsibility as both a leader and team member.
“They learn how to do the right thing and be a team member; important to whatever they do later in life,” Tran said.
For information on the summer camp program and academy enrollment, visit armyandnavyacademy.org, email [email protected], or call 760.547.5288.
Founded in 1910, the Army and Navy Academy is a private not-for-profit institution that provides an academically robust, character-based education for 7th- through 12th-grade young men.