Boys face challenges at Marine Military Academy Summer Camp

HARLINGEN — The boys scrambled over the wooden structures, arms and legs squeezing against logs for a moment before moving quickly to the next.

Reaching the end, they jumped victoriously and landed with feet flat on the ground.

“This is not something I have done before,” said Gaven Arceneau, 13, of Maryville, Tennessee. “I was a little bit out of shape.”

He, like the other boys in the Marine Military Academy Summer Camp, was challenging the Confidence Course for the third or even fourth time. By now many had begun developing some technique, which is crucial.

They talked at length about the challenges they were confronting on the course.

“They have to take away that thing that gives you fear,” said Max Allyrd, 14, of Layton, Utah.

Across the field at the High Ropes Course, campers from throughout the world climbed a pole. Once on top, the challenge was to leap from the top and tap a jug dangling from a line.

The instructors had them all secured with belay lines. However, climbing that high can still intimidate even the most daring of young men and boys.

As Diego Hernandez, 13, neared the top of the pole, he slowed down, his movements becoming more cautious and deliberate.

“You can do it,” said Bill Hinkle, high ropes instructor. “Put your foot up there.”

“I think that I will fall,” said the Monterrey resident.

“We got you,” Hinkle said.

Finally Diego leaped into mid-air, missed the jug (like everybody) and drifted slowly to the ground at the end of the line.