If your JROTC unit does not have a plan on how to recruit at the local elementary schools that feed your high school, then you need to implement a strategy this school year!
JROTC programs need cadets, that we know. If 8th-grade students are unaware of the benefits of JROTC (leadership, organization skills, drill team, etc.), then those students will probably not sign up for JROTC. One of my favorite sayings is, “Education is key!” Applying that phrase to this situation means that you, as a cadet, can help ensure that 8th-graders are aware of JROTC and how it can impact their life whether they join the military or not. But, how do you do this? I’m glad you asked.
Self-promotion is a leadership and political skill that is critical to master in order to navigate the realities of the workplace and position you for success.”
― Bonnie Marcus
Promotion, Promotion, Promotion
I am not talking about telling everyone how wonderful you are or how amazing your units is. That is not the point. The point is to help students understand how much fun they can have and all of the different things they can learn just by being in the program.
Create a team that has can visit different places (schools, community events) that sets up a table with flyers with information and a tri-fold display board complete with pictures of cadets in all of the different activities.
During the high school open house, ensure that the PT, drill and rocketry teams all get a chance to show off their skills. Have the color guard present the colors to begin the night.
- Raiders– run to the elementary school and do PT with the students.
- Drill Team and Color Guard– perform at the school. March in as many parades as possible.
- Reveille or Retreat– perform for the cadets in all of the different ways that you can.
Note: You must ensure students and their parents are fully aware that JROTC does not come with a commitment to the military. Junior ROTC is a citizen building program only, about 55%-60% of cadets join the military either by directly enlisting or by attending college and commissioning.
Your JROTC unit needs to be prepared and the Public Affairs cadet(s) should put all of this into motion in conjunction with the team commanders. Educate the incoming students and the people living near the school by putting your best foot forward.