Camp San Luis Obispo is playing host to 115 high school students from Southern California taking part in the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp's two-week leadership camp.
The Central Coast military base was chosen for its cooler summer climate and diverse training venues that include rappelling down cliff sides, going on airplane rides, marching eight to 10 miles a day and taking part in land navigation missions.
"We do not teach these kids to be soldiers," said Master Sgt. Fred Malcomb, a youth adviser for the program. "We give them confidence and teach them to be respectful, better citizens - and better students."
On Wednesday, a group practiced stick fighting with heavily padded batons.
San Luis Obispo County doesn't have junior ROTC programs, which are offered at high schools, said John Bushmann, station commander at the U.S. Army Recruiting office on Broad Street in San Luis Obispo.