FORT KNOX, Ky. – Cadet Initial Entry Training (CIET) 3RD Regiment Alpha Company Cadets negotiate the high ropes at the confidence course in order to better build courage in their abilities and future leadership roles.
Maj. Chris Klich, instructor at Patriot Battalion ROTC, Providence College, R.I., was on-hand to oversee the confidence course where the Cadets were training.
“This is an opportunity for Cadets to get a little uncomfortable and get familiar with their fear of heights and to hopefully work through it,” Klich said, “the biggest struggle is the mental struggle. We have to convince them that fear is more mental than anything else.”
Cadets were faced with deceptive obstacles during the high ropes that forced them to get uncomfortable and build confidence in themselves and their equipment as they completed the course.
“It’s very important as they mature as officers and become commissioned, we are teaching them that they will have to give orders that are uncomfortable for Soldiers sometimes,” Klich said.
Cdt. Eric Warren, Lincoln University, Jefferson Missouri, believes confidence is the key to becoming an effective leader.
“Confidence is important to perform and execute better,” Warren said, “it is the key to everything. If you don’t have confidence in yourself, other people will not have confidence in you.”
Klich explains that the high ropes course is imperative to developing confidence for future leadership situations.
“They have to know how to work through it so they can inspire others to do the things they are being asked to do without thinking, and do the things that may be uncomfortable,” Klich said.
Cdt. Aurora Alejos, residing in Ansbach, Germany, attending Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, Texas, does not allow herself to lose confidence during difficult operations.
“There were a few where I got a little nervous, and I ended up falling on one obstacle, but I picked myself up real quick,” Alejos said.
Alejos believes that in the face of a challenge, it is best to look at the bigger picture.
“You just need to think to yourself ‘I need to do this, it’s only going to make me better,” Alejos said, “if you don’t show confidence, no one is going to want to follow you.”
Each Cadet has their own definition of confidence that they carry with them as future leaders in training.
“Confidence to me means being prepared, being ready for anything, being self-sufficient and having trust in yourself and others as well,” Warren said.
Klich finds the Confidence Course as a beneficial experience for both Cadets and cadre present.
“This is a great day of training. It’s great to see Cadets with a fear of heights overcome it, and they usually get down off the zip-line with the biggest smile, and it’s a very rewarding experience for us,” Klich said.