Helping to turn teenagers onto STEM is something that benefits the military at Crane since engineers are something both the Army and the Navy rely on heavily for their civilian workforce. May said, “The nation needs engineers. So all we are hoping to do is spark an interest in as many kids to change their course early, to influence that toward maybe a career. You get to them early and they don’t know what they don’t know; maybe they love Science Technology Engineering and Math.”
The students from the four different schools were mixed together in platoons so that they would be forced to interact and work with new people. According to Cadet Kirsten Bush of Indianapolis, Ind., being on a team and trying to get everyone to work together was her biggest challenge of the week.
“I know how to be a better leader. I know how to get everyone to work together and come together as one,” Bush said. “Not necessarily to get everyone to do what I want them to do, but to get everyone to think about others opinions. Now, just by me saying a few words gets everyone to turn their heads and listen and that’s not how it used to be before. So it has been very helpful for me.”
The challenges the cadets faced during the week and how they overcame them as a team was a key part of the training. According to Cadet Conor Johnson of Anderson, Ind., it is training that brought out the best both as a team and as individuals.
“It is an interesting thing about how at times, with the trials that the team goes through, you feel a great sense of elation and strength in community. And there are times when your team goes down a tougher path that it is a lot harder and you don’t have as much unit cohesion,” Conor said. “That’s probably the hardest thing here. Because there are a lot of invigorating experiences… for some people physical training can be a breeze and for others it can be their trial in life. It helps people push past those barriers and strengthens them so that they can become better leaders in the future.”
Established Oct. 1977, CAAA maintains ordnance professionals and infrastructure in order to receive, store, ship, produce, renovate and demilitarize conventional ammunition, missiles and related components.