Teens who know they want a military career can begin to prepare for it while in high school. Boot camp style training programs exist to instill the values and physical endurance necessary for military service. According to USAToday, some teens benefit from the structure, the discipline and the influence of military-trained instructors in a boot camp environment.
The main benefit of boot camp for teens who are curious about a military career seems to be the exposure to structure and discipline. Both appear to help teens focus on their education, according to Gene Bottoms, director of the Southern Regional Education Board’s High Schools That Work program. Teens also gain from the emphasis placed on teamwork and personal accountability in the boot camp, reports the U.S. Army Cadet Corps.
According to the website for U.S. Military Academy, teens should start early in order to compete successfully in the military. The physical training received from boot camp is one component. Other important gains made through the boot camp experience include leadership. It is also imperative that teens maintain academic excellence and a well-rounded academic portfolio, complete with English, math, science, U.S. history and foreign languages.
Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps
Funded by the Pentagon, the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps program, or JROTC, operates through the high school curriculum. Students who enroll in JROTC can choose among Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force specializations. JROTC provides teens with physical and academic training, as well as shooting practice with air rifles, according to a 2009 article in USAToday.
U.S. Army Cadet Corps Annual Training
Teens can participate in basic cadet training through the U.S. Army Cadet’s Corps’ annual Training program. Basic cadet training, or BCT, introduces teens to the fundamentals of military life through intense physical activities such as the obstacle course, water survival, rappelling, and basic marksmanship. BCT represents the most authentic basic training program available to cadets preparing for a future career with the Army, according to the U.S. Army Cadet Corps.
Attending boot camp as a teen does not make future military service compulsory. Teens have the ultimate say over their careers. However, enrolling in the Army ROTC Basic Course once you are in college will require service commitment if you have received a scholarship, according to GoArmy.com.
- “USA TODAY”; Junior ROTC 'More Than a Class' to Teens: Enrollment Rises in High School Program that Offers Students Discipline, a Taste of Military Life; Jordan Schrader; December 2009
- U.S. Army Cadet Command: Training opportunities for Army Cadets
- United States Military Academy West Point: Start Young to Gain Admission
- GoArmy: FAQ