While their peers were enjoying the last waning days of summer before the start of another school year, cadets in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program at Rogers High School retreated to the Cispus Learning Center in Randle, Washington Aug. 17-18 to learn about what it takes to be an effective leader.
“The JROTC program has been at Rogers for 22 years,” said Cadet Lt. Col. Ryan Burrow, Rogers JROTC battalion commander and a senior at Rogers High. “(The program) is all about teaching young people leadership skills and how to be good citizens, and preparing them for the world.”
Cadets in the Rogers JROTC program joined cadets from Bethel School District’s Graham-Kapowsin High School during the retreat.
The Rogers Battalion and Graham-Kapowsin Battalion each divided cadets into several groups. Rogers’ battalion, specifically, divided its cadets into four groups.
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The different groups were dispersed the morning of Aug. 17 to various challenge courses. On Aug. 18, both battalions attended a guest presentation that informed the cadets about the different leadership styles and qualities. The presentation was led by Bethel School District’s Career and College Readiness Director Diane Carver, along with administrators from Rogers High School, including Principal Jason Smith.
The two-day leadership skills retreat culminated in the different groups presenting an original skit that informed the audience what they learned over the retreat, Burrow said.
“We’ve been doing the leadership skills retreat for a couple years,” Burrow said. “It’s a good way to forge the bond between the cadets and to help the new school year run smoother. Now the cadets know their leaders and they know what other cadets will be in their class. It helps them to have tighter bonds. It’s easier to trust someone you know, than someone you don’t.”
The son of a U.S. Army soldier, Burrow has attended 12 schools, most of them in the southwest region of the United States. Prior to enrolling at Rogers High, Burrow and his family lived in Germany where he attended high school and was in the JROTC program there his freshman and sophomore years.
“I’m one of the few people at Rogers who has been in JROTC for four years,” Burrow said.
His many years of experience in JROTC made him well-suited for a leadership role. Last May, Burrow was notified he would serve as the Rogers battalion commander in the 2015-2016 school year.
Burrow said the challenging part of his role as battalion commander during the August leadership retreat was making sure everything was running smoothly and making sure the leaders under him were doing their jobs effectively.
“It’s definitely challenging,” Burrow said. “It’s different than all the other leadership jobs. I’m the top guy.”
Burrow is thankful for the guidance from his instructors, who help him to be an effective leader.
Following high school graduation, Burrow plans on attending college and entering the ROTC program, and after college joining the Army. Two colleges he is considering to attend are Central Washington University and the University of Washington.
Andrew Fickes: 253-472-0341