On December 17, our cadets hosted their annual Christmas Party. In the past we have held the party at Crazy Pins, Parkview Ice arena, and in the school as a lock-in. This year we were at Ultra Zone, which is owned by one of our former parents. Of the 98 JROTC cadets in the Battalion, 60 cadets attended the Christmas Party, which in all honesty was a very low key affair. Nothing fancy, just pizza and laser tag. It was good old-fashioned fun for all who attended.
I learned while on active duty (and reaffirmed with high school cadets) that leaders must be seen as human. The relationships that we build with our students, cadets, and co-workers need to be more that “do what I say.” They must be built on respect, trust, and mutual respect. For three hours, MAJ Sheaffer and I were chased about by the cadets. They encircled us like gnats in the forest expressing amazing glee whenever our shot packs were dimmed by a well-placed shot, and after the match was over, gloating that they shot me 12 times to my 1 time I shot them. It’s amazing the relationships you can build by allowing yourself to have fun with your students, even if it’s only for three hours. That comradery is what builds espirit de corps in a unit as well as trust and mutual respect.
So, let your hair down, roll up your sleeves and go play laser tag with your class or kid. It will be worth it in the end.
SFC Al Conrad,