Well, for four days of it any way. The Oklahoma District Royal Rangers runs JLTA (Junior Leadership Training Academy) each summer at Camp Adventure, near Chandler, Oklahoma. Check here: http://royalrangers.com/training/junior/ and http://www.oklahomaroyalrangers.org/

I work with the AJTC group, which is the second year of the program (most age 13 to 15). (There is a zero year, ATC, first year is JTC (Junior Training Camp), then AJTC (Advanced JTC), then two options, then they can apply for the elite (fifth year). They work drill and ceremony with sabers, and they are leaders of the other groups. Back to my group, AJTC, they focus on knots and lashing, and they have some leadership tasks. We review knots and lashing. They lash a simple 6′ x 2′ X-braced rectangle, then we build a 1/3-scale model of a 20′-tall tower. That all happens Thursday. We start the tower Friday, and they have some classes to complete too. We start the tower with two sides flat, put them up vertical on their sides, and join them together on the bottom, then across the top. Once it is all put together and double checked, we pull it up to standing and stake out guy wires (ropes). It is rather heavy. Anyway, if all goes well (and it has gone well enough so far), it stands sturdy enough for several of the boys to climb on it at once. We keep them to four on the top, and four on the middle floor. They also build a rope bridge across a gully on Friday.

On Saturday, the AJTC boys supervise the tower, the rope bridge, and the compass course while the JTC boys get to climb. The AJTC and JTC boys all complete the compass course, and JTC usually wins, because they have a full compass class on Friday. (AJTC is supposed to remember!) After that, they take down the rope bridge and the tower (in essentially exact reverse order), and put everything away for the next year. They then get to run an orienteering course that isn’t hard, but is physically challenging. We group the teams with an even mix of physical abilities. (It is amazing how the stronger leaders seem to always manage with the least physically capable boys on their teams.) They work hard and get hot and are glad to have free time then for catching up and leisure, such as a swim in the camp lake (well, large, and deep, pond).

Sunday morning, they finish all their intra-patrol competitions, and practice their presentations, and then they clean up, ready to depart. Late morning, we have the awards and presentations. They are sharp, especially for only one drill-&-ceremony class, and just a bit of extra at opportune moments, and Saturday evening rehearsal. The elite group always prepares and executes a moving saber drill. I mean emotional. They are always exceptionally good. Commander Lewis always prepares an original presentation fully suited to incorporate all members of the elite patrol. After the saber drill, the saber ceremony. It is significant and well worth being present for.

Many photos were taken, especially at the Sunday morning ceremony, but I only took a few with my bb. Not great pictures, but here they are: