By Jane Dail
Monday, July 22, 2013
Greenville will play host to dozens of teens for a week long program that is not just a summer camp but an event that will help them develop skills to become more effective leaders.
As a bonus, the program will be led by someone who recently was one of the most powerful leaders in the country.
About 37 high school students from North Carolina and Virginia and their families gathered at East Carolina University’s Willis Building to start off the second annual Shelton Leadership Challenge, named after former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and retired U.S. Army Gen. Hugh Shelton.
Shelton, a Tarboro native who lives in Morehead City, started off the program with some reassuring words to the participants.
“I want to assure each and every one of you right now, this is not a boot camp,” he said. “… I’ve been to the Army’s Ranger School, I’ve been to the Airborne School, I’ve been to the Green Beret school. We don’t want to do that here. We want to try to make you better leaders and at the same time in doing so, we want you to have some fun.”
The weeklong program’s mission is to inspire, educate and develop values for future leaders with a focus on personal integrity, ethics and service, according to Mandee Lancaster with the university’s Office of Innovation and Economic Development. The office, as well as Student Affairs at the university, sponsored the event.
The program began 11 years ago at Shelton’s alma mater, N.C. State University, and has spread to other institutions around the state.
Ted Morris, associate vice chancellor of innovation and economic development at ECU, said practicing and instilling leadership skills in youth is essential.
“We, together, have a window of time with our young people to instill in them the type of thinking, the navigational beacons, if you will, the types of values we know are foundational to how they will perform and derive happiness and serve others,” Morris said.
“This is really driven by a warrior mind-set,” he said. “Having the perseverance, having the generosity of the spirit, think about honing your own capabilities and deploying them for something larger than you and for people other than yourselves.”
Shelton, who spent 38 years in the U.S. military, said some lessons the teens will learn include learning to be a follower to become a better leader.
“To be a real part of a team, to be an integral part of it, to know what to do to help the team along,” he said. “There’s some real skills associated with that.”
Shelton said another essential skill he learned was confidence.
“Two weeks ago I was speaking in Paris before 100,000 people,” he said. “Was I nervous? Not a bit. Why? … If you’re going to get these skills and if you’re going to build on them, as you build on them, you get confidence. … It doesn’t make a difference how many people are there.”
Jessica Parrish, 16, of Fuquay-Varina said her mother told her about the program and said she is glad she is participating.
Parish said she looks forward to working on her teamwork skills in the coming week.
“(I want to work on) just being part of a team,” she said. “I’m not normally a team person.”
But Parrish was confident in one skill.
“I’m good at making friends,” she said.
Morris said the same lessons and characteristics that made Shelton successful in his military career are what inspired him to reach out to up-and-coming students.
“I think the same things that bring him here with us today are the same things that have taken him from Vietnam to Haiti and many other places around the world,” Morris said.
“That servant’s heart and that passion for serving others and making sure everything he’s doing is making as large of an impact as possible.”
Contact Jane Dail at email@example.com or 252-329-9585.
via The Daily Reflector.