Each year, the ANA Admission Office receives thousands of inquiries about our academic and summer programs. Often, parents are looking for more than what can be taught in the classroom – they’re also looking for leadership and life skills.
Character and leadership education are the cornerstone of a Cadet’s experience at the Academy, but weren’t the sole focus of our traditional summer camps. The solution? Camp Challenge, established in 2010. As the only camp of its kind west of the Mississippi River, it’s getting more and more popular each year.
What to Expect
If your son or daughter attends Camp Challenge, expect to see some significant personal growth. Most often, we hear about campers’ improved citizenship, communication skills, confidence, ability to work within a team, and physical fitness. Their whole outlook on life can shift, with a greater focus on leadership and values.
Each Camp Challenge camp offers its own unique advantages.
Camp Challenge (JROTC Leadership) gives campers the opportunity to experience the JROTC curriculum. Maybe their school doesn’t offer JROTC, or maybe they’re looking to have an edge going into their school’s JROTC program.
Camp Challenge Leadership Development Program: High School is designed for students who are not interested in JROTC, but who want to improve their leadership skills. It’s also a strong enhancement to college applications.
Camp Challenge Leadership Development Program: Middle School is the perfect introduction to leadership education for younger students. It’s a great way to help them develop maturity and self-confidence during these formative years.
Camp Challenge Highlights
One of the most memorable elements of the Camp Challenge experience is the community service project. Campers select a deserving organization, plan a project to benefit it, and carry the project through completion.
Last summer, for example, campers hosted car washes to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). On the last day of Camp, they presented the earnings from the washes to Kevin Schaeffer, WWP Spokesman. It was great for the Cadets to see the results of their hard work, proving to them that they can make a difference.
While most of the camp takes place on our oceanfront campus, some highlights take place in and around San Diego County. Camp Challenge begins with an excursion to San Diego State University, where campers work on the ropes course. This team-building exercise sets the tone for the rest of the summer.
Favorite off-campus activities are at Camp Pendleton. First, campers’ physical fitness and fortitude is challenged by the base’s obstacle course. Later, they venture to the Leadership Reaction Course, which involves a series of challenges that can only be completed through effective communication, teamwork, and creative problem solving.
Of course, camp isn’t complete until campers visit the USS Midway, the famous San Diego landmark. The Midway is an aircraft carrier that has been transformed into a museum. While visiting, campers learn about the ship’s history and the many aircraft now housed on its flight deck.
More than a Camp
Camp Challenge can truly be a life-changer, helping campers build resiliency and confidence. When summer has ended, campers have the leadership and character skills needed to face everything the future has in store.