Junior ROTC Students Test Their Limits At Summer Camp

High school students from across the state are learning they have the power to overcome challenges.

This week, Camp Shelby is hosting a summer camp for 450 Army Junior ROTC members. It's giving the young people a chance to test their limits.

"I'm scared of heights," said A.J. Dorsey of D'Iberville High School.

When you're 50 feet in the air, the first step can be the hardest. But soon anxiety and nervousness gave way to courage and pride.

"They told me that so far out of all the companies only one person has not done it and I wasn't going to be the second," said Dorsey.

Ashley Spires also attends D'Iberville High.

"The hardest part getting up there. Once you start going down, everybody is encouraging you. It's a lot of fun."

The 450 high school students are among the Junior ROTC's best. Each school selected 10 students to go to the camp.

But this week long military style camp was still a challenge, even for the best students.

Hancock High's Todd Pardon said "It's been really fun. The only hard part is getting up at 5 o'clock in the morning and making my bed everyday."

Students learn to trust, work with, and encourage others even though they're mostly strangers.

"Sometimes it's a little confusion and it gets frustrating, but in the end we end up getting the job done," said Caleb Shavers. "Everybody has their own talents and their own capabilities. Like we use the small people if we have to send them across with their weight being light. We don't send the heavy people. We use the strong people to lift things."

Camp officials say the female to male ratio is 60-40.

"I feel I have to prove myself a little bit more," said Summer Wilkerson of Ocean Springs High. "I guess the natural instinct is that females are less strong and can't do what they can. All the females here have proved themselves that we can do exactly as much as the males can."

Eli Cruseen of DIberville admitted how "we had some females that thought they couldn't and they did. They proved me wrong."

Students say at the end of the struggle there is the great reward called victory.

Wilkerson said "Once you face your fears you can do anything."

The camp wraps up on Wednesday.