Fort Knox, Kentucky – Cadets from Alpha Company,1st Regiment, Basic Camp, were  accompanied by visiting Centers of Influence on June 13th, while overcoming their fear of heights at the Forrest Hills Complex.

Visitors from the Nation’s colleges visit the Forest Hills Climbing Complex June 13 in Fort Knox. The Commanding General, Brig. Gen. John R. Evans, Jr. addresses the visitors in a short brief before the guests gear up to tackle the high-ropes course alongside the Cadets of Alpha Company, 1st Regiment. By Joseph Barkoff.

The Forest Hills Complex contains a three-part High Ropes Confidence Course, which includes a ropes course, alpine tower, and rock wall. The course is meant to instill self-confidence as well as encourage Cadets to trust their battle buddies and equipment.

“Overcoming their fears gives them an opportunity to build confidence. It’ll help them as they move forward through life,” said Brig. Gen. John Evans, Commanding General, U.S. Army Cadet Command, who was in attendance today. “The students have a keen appreciation of who is struggling with their fears, and they rally to support them.”

This experience equips Cadets to lead from the front and perform when out of their comfort zone, which is essential for future Army officers.

After completing the course, Cadet Andrew Quintero from Norwich University said, “It’s a mentally tough situation, and really helped build confidence. It was a really good workout too.”

COI’s are notable individuals from educational institutions and private enterprises across the country, who act as driving forces and active supporters of Cadet Command. They have also been invited here to gain a greater perspective of what Cadets face during camp and see firsthand how these future leaders are being molded.

Mary Kreta, Associate Vice Chancellor of Enrollment and Management at University of Alaska, Fairbanks, receives final instructions before swinging to the next obstacle on the high-ropes course at Forest Hills Climbing Complex June 13 in Fort Knox. By Joseph Barkoff.

When asked about her experience with ROTC, one of the COIs, Mary Kreta, the Associate Vice Chancellor of Enrollment at the University of Alaska (Fairbanks) said, “They are a great program and incredible partners with the university. We work closely with them to grow the ROTC program and enrollment at the university.”

Evans also stated, “We also want to use this as an opportunity to thank them for their advocacy and understanding, in terms of Cadets and programs.”

“The way you guys incrementally take folks from ‘I can’t do it’ to showing them that they can and moving them out of their comfort zones, is a lesson I’m going to take away from it,” said Dr. Chuck Zwemer from Dickenson College. Zwemer is a professor of biology and notable researcher of critical care physiology.

After completing the course, Kreta responded, “This has given me a good overview of what the Cadets do and how they are able to reach their potential. I’m really thankful for the opportunity.”

Cadets of Alpha Company, 1st Regiment, Basic Camp take a meal break at Forest Hills Climbing Complex June 13 in Fort Knox. By Joseph Barkoff.

During their break for lunch, the Cadets received advice from Sgt. 1st Class Barry Ray from the Georgia Institute of Technology. “[when choosing a mentor] A good leader should always be like gravity; you want to be drawn to these people. Have them help you become a force that attracts and develops good Soldiers,” Ray believes that mentorship and personal growth is a key to developing good Army leaders.

“It makes me very proud that the kids in my classroom are doing such great things,” Zwemer said.