From 22 to 27 June 2009, USD and NROTC San Diego hosted 206 NJROTC Cadets for the annual Area 11 Leadership Academy. This Academy featured the top 3% of the 8000 NJROTC Students from over 60 high schools in the Southern California and Arizona region.
The Leadership Academy gives these rising Seniors and Juniors a better perspective on leadership qualities in hopes that they can go back to their host NJROTC unit better prepared to lead their subordinate NJROTC Cadets.
This is the first year that the Leadership Academy was hosted at a University which had an NROTC Battalion. This added benefit proved to be instrumental in the development of the Cadets. The Cadets were able to interact daily with 26 NROTC Midshipmen and Officer Candidates. There were several leadership sessions where top NROTC Midshipmen mentored and held a Question and Answer sessions with the Cadets, which provided valuable information about not only the NROTC Program, but college life in general.
NROTC Midshipmen and Officer Candidates also coordinated and conducted eight other physical fitness training sessions ranging from relay races and tug of war to challenging calisthenics and runs to the actual Physical Fitness Assessment, which yielded a high success rate.
One of the highlights of this year’s Leadership Academy was when CDR Jim Bedinger (USN, retired) shared his experiences as a Prisoner of War during the Vietnam War. He shared very personal experiences about his brother’s death, 3.5 years in the Hanoi Hilton and his personal relationship with Senator McCain, Ernie Brace, and Admiral James Bond Stockdale.
The NJROTC Leadership Academy was a Win-Win situation. It was a win for NROTC San Diego, because it served as a Leadership Academy for the 26 Midshipmen and Officer Candidates who were volunteering because they were able to develop their leadership styles further. It was also a win for NJROTC Cadets because they learned a wealth of information and were able to get valuable mentorship from current NROTC students. We're hoping this is the beginning of a long relationship.