JROTC cadets clean up state park, try mapping exercises

Students with the George Rogers Clark High School JROTC program spent their Saturday morning cleaning up trash and debris at Fort Boonesborough State Park.

JROTC is a high school character and leadership development program, according to the U.S. Army JROTC website. There are about 314,000 cadets enrolled in JROTC in over 1,700 high schools. More than 100 students enrolled in GRC’s JROTC program, Tori Stepp, cadet battalion public affairs officer for JROTC, said.

The clean-up was part of their annual service learning project, and also serves as a way to prepare for their upcoming Raider event. Stepp said cadets picked up trash throughout the park, cleaned up the fire pits and the camping area, removed large branches and even cleared the beach of any debris.

Stepp said the clean up is one way the students can connect with the community.

“I think it helps them learn about how the community works,” she said. “…It’s also just that willingness to do something for the better good. The state park hasn’t been touched in a long time.”

JROTC students also set up high school graduation, do fundraising benefits and run parking or security details.

The cadets spent the rest of their Saturday afternoon doing a mapping exercise. The exercise trains cadets on mapping coordinates and could help them if they were to ever get lost, Paige Gibson, cadet battalion executive officer, said.

“We’re teaching them how to do military mapping,” Gibson said. “They have to plot a point on a map and go find their points. The “(cadet) who gets the most right will get a medal.”