Before Future Leader Camp, I only had one form of leadership I used for people, who were only close to me on drill team. Going from that to a multitude of people, I didn't know showed me how to not act so much like a friend when I'm a leader, but a compassionate superior. Made up of all females, Alpha team was a little nervous around each other the first couple of days. Once we got comfortable with our roommates, we all opened up and got to know each other. Now we all have inside jokes and connections we never could have expected. The most valuable lesson I learned was to never give up. I was really home sick in the beginning of FLC and didn't think I could last. But with the help of my teammates and instructor, I pushed through and I am happy that I did. I did so much at FLC that I have never done before, and I have met some amazing people here, teammates and instructors alike!
Since I have been here at Future Leader Camp, I have learned to cooperate with a team and provide moral support to my teammates. Towards the middle of camp, my teammates would get down and lose the drive they had at the beginning. So, I would cheer them on during activities to have them try and push themselves further. The greatest struggle I had today was calling cadence. It was difficult for me because I would choke halfway through the cadence, messing up the formation. Since the last time I was team leader, I have grown closer with my team and have gotten to know them as close friends, through crazy stories from back home or with what the instructors did!
For my second time as team leader, the greatest challenge I faced today was leading the team during the drill competition. Even though we had practiced many times, I was nervous taking such a large role in my team's performance. My favorite activity today was also the drill competition because, while it was challenging, I believe it punctuated my leadership and has shown that I have grown as leader. Throughout the course of Future Leader Camp, I feel I ave grown both as a leader and a person. Before FLC, I would never have imagined marching a team of peers or learning how to rappel. Now I know I can comfortably lead and command, and I will be sure to carry what I learned here into my future!
I believe as a leader, I have improved by learning to lead different types of people. This reflects in my view of leadership; how it has changed dramatically, being around a bunch of "type-A personalities" in my group. Instead of being relaxed, I've had to be assertive in my actions and command. This changed because I realized being more democratic gives room for others to try and take over, even though it may be subconscious. To stop that, I needed to always be ready to take a direction while balancing a respectable and empathetic role as well. The team has grown together, and acts more like a family now in how, when a family fights, they always come back together. For my final day as team leader, unfortunately the weather prevented many of the expected activities. However, it did allow for a great deal of team-bonding time. While we may not have done the Olympic Challenge, I was still happy to spend time with my teammates!
Since the last time I was team leader, I am more confident with calling drill commands, and I am better at looking out for my team. I am more driven to motivate them, and less prone to being frustrated, allowing little mistakes to get under my skin. The most fun I had today was during the drill competition. I have been taught how to drill for the past three yeas, so it feels great to know how tight my understanding of drill is. Also, I felt relieved after completing the competition because I prepared for it all week and had been a little stressed out about it. After the drill competition, I received some slack for the way I say the word "march" during drill. However, I was able to hold in my anger because I realized that it was immature to react to the jokes. I was happy that my team received second place in the competition, regardless of the jokes. The final lesson I learned as leader today was that patience and composure can go a long way when competing for, or inside, a leadership role. By setting the example and not reacting to other teams, I showed my team how to handle themselves, making us a professional unit on the drill floor!
Out of the sixty-nine participants at Future Leader Camp, I was one of the lucky few to be team leader again. This second time around allowed me to lead Foxtrot with a more refined leadership than last time. I was more comfortable leading because I had been through the same routine before, but this time, my confidence reflected onto my team and allowed us to stand out among the other seven teams. After having a few chances to lead my peers, I have realized how important having a well-crafted leader is in a group. The past two weeks, our team has seen a spectrum of different leaders, some shining and some still needing polishing. What makes a good leader is someone who can keep the team in line and look at the bigger picture over the small errors. The most valuable lesson I learned in my second opportunity to lead was how important it is to be well composed because my team feeds off of it. If I'm a goof, they're a bunch of goofs. If I'm locked on, they are locked on. The most fun activity I had today was performing in the skits because it allowed us to illustrate our views on the camp and instructors!
I am from Aiken, South Carolina. I am sixteen years old and I have no previous experience with a leadership camp like Future Leader Camp. I learned today how to project my voice in front of other people because I am usually quiet around other people, and it helped to build my public speaking skills. My greatest challenge of the day would have to be staying in step while actually calling cadence because I usually misstep while calling it. I could use my public speaking skills to make motivational speeches to soldiers, hopefully when I become a United States Army Officer. The activity I had the most fun with was the skits because we got to poke fun at all the staff, and release some of the frustration we had at camp, but all in good fun!
Coming to Future Leader Camp was a real eye opener for me! I have learned a substantial amount about the importance of effective communication, as well as the way an order is given. I have learned that a delegating form of leadership is not always effective, but that leadership is situational. I also learned the importance of morale amongst a team; a team with a low morale is incredibly ineffective, whereas a team with high morale is highly motivated. Since the beginning of FLC, my team has matured incredibly. When we were first formed up we were a wreck and uncomfortable together. Due to the stress of the environment, we quickly came together as a group, seeing that we needed each other to make it through. My greatest challenge today was getting my team together to do the drill competition and skits because I had never led an unarmed drill event before, and I was nervous about successfully leading my team in the competition, as well as managing my team in the creation of a skit. I learned today that together as a team, a lot can be be accomplished in a short period of time to complete a hard task. Today is a perfect example of how team unity allowed us to accomplish a goal. We prepared for our drill competition, and made a skit at the last minute, but we still accomplished the mission!