BAKER — Josh Long wants to face his fears.
"Rappelling off a 45-foot tower is nerve-racking to me, considering I have a fear of heights," he said.
The 17-year-old headed to Hawaii last weekend to do just that during a junior ROTC competition.
In addition to spending two weeks touring the island of Oahu in Honolulu, Long will take part in the JROTC Cadet Leadership Challenge at the Schofield Barracks. For four days, 72 cadets will compete in day and night land-navigation activities, rope rappelling and obstacle courses.
It'll be a packed schedule, Baker JROTC instructor Michael Ramirez said.
"...These kids will have their days planned out for them from early in the morning until the evening," he said.
JCLC is a JROTC requirement that gives cadets confidence-building military training, Ramirez said.
"You will see kids starting out who will be very insecure and then after they go through (JCLC), you will see their heads held high and ... they are very proud of their accomplishments," he said.
Usually, Baker's JROTC, like several county JROTC programs, has JCLC in the summer at Camp James E. Rudder on Eglin Air Force Base, Ramirez said.
The opportunity to send Long to Hawaii occurred when an open slot became available for a Baker student to attend with JROTC students from Hillcrest High School in Evergreen, Ala.
Hillcrest JROTC instructor Michael Phipps approached Ramirez about sending one of the Baker cadets.
Long's interest in pursuing a military career in the U.S. Air Force, his leadership skills and maturity level make him an ideal Baker representative, Ramirez said.
"I am very confident that he is going to do great things there," he said.
This will be Long's first JCLC experience. The student, who has been involved with JROTC since eighth grade, has received financial support to help cover travel expenses and accommodations.
Long knows it's a big deal.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me," he said. "I am very excited."