SHS JROTC Cadets Represent at The American Independence Youth Leadership Conference

WILLIAMSBURG, VA- Four JROTC cadets from Smithfield High School attended the American Independence Youth Leadership Conference at the Williamsburg 4-H camp 24-28 April. Smithfield Cadets Charlise Albers, Leila Cameron, Ryan McEathron, and Andrew Ruppert participated in the event alongside forty-five other students from Virginia, Washington, DC, and Maryland. At the conference, the cadets spent 13 hours in the classroom learning Practical skills, effective communication, government, and free enterprise. Outside of the classroom setting the cadets conducted team building, compatibility, scientific, and mathematical exercises. The forty-five cadets also participated in a tour of the colonial triangle of Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown.
Cadet Charlie Albers was selected by instructors for The Superior Leadership Award, given to the conference's best leader. and by her peers for the conference's “Best Citizen Award”. Cadet Ryan McEathron was named the conference's “Most Outstanding Leader” and also received the Thomas Jefferson Award for the Conference Best Five-Man Team. Ryan stated, "Learning to lead effectively and standing out in a positive light are the best ways to get noticed. We learned important lessons in the classroom throughout the conference, and one of those lessons was active listening. I discovered how crucial it is to step back and allow others to have the same opportunities to learn. We learned a great deal from this experience.”
The event, sponsored by The Military Order of World Wars (MOWW), attempts to assist in shaping students into leaders by emphasizing the value of respectful behavior, collaboration, and effective communication. The MOWW provided four $700 full scholarships for the four Smithfield cadets to attend the conference. “What an awesome gift to these cadets to allow them to attend the conference free!, said LTC Pete Badoian, “ Based on the cadets feedback the experience was huge value added to their development.”
Written by Packer Battalion Public Affairs Officer, S5, C/CPT Kadence DiStefano
Cadets from left to right: Ryan McEathron, Charlise Albers, Leila Cameron and Andrew Ruppert