In order to be effective, leadership must be educated, nurtured, and matured through instruction and hands-on application.
Written By: Admiral Farragut Academy Naval Science Instructor 1stSgt David Worthy, United States Marine Corps
The Importance of Leadership Fundamentals
Whether you believe it or not, our youth of today are already leading! Whether it’s leading a group of friends on an athletic field or their siblings at home, leadership is inherent in everyone. However, in order to be effective, leadership must be educated, nurtured, and matured through instruction and hands-on application. One of the major reasons that leadership education is so dynamic is because it aids young men and women in seeing and applying the potential they possess. It provides them with the opportunity to work within a secure “test tube” where success or mistakes can be made, explained, and learned from.
How Leadership Impacts Decision-Making
Let’s be honest, the average high school student is making adult decisions much earlier in life. From decisions on whether to use alcohol or drugs to what college they will attend or field of expertise they will pursue. While some of these decisions will affect them immediately, most will affect them for the rest of their life. With the benefit of leadership education, students witness the outcome of their decisions without a negative effect. They are provided the opportunity to first lead themselves, and then lead a group of their peers. This is no small task, but the dynamics of the leadership education provides the place where they can be assisted to test their ideas and strategies without the fear of hurt or loss. The ideas they have can be “acid tested” for validity, with the opportunity for awareness to be sharpened and a positive leadership experience to exist strengthening their leadership development as a result.
Practicing Leadership in a Safe Environment
Student leaders can now forge their experimental leadership in a safe environment while honing their skills in such a way that they are prepared for the next level of their education and life. They gain the tools and skills that make them effective in college, which often follows them into the military or business world. Look at some of the world’s foremost thinkers and leaders today. They are young, vibrant, intelligent individuals with a keen sense of understanding of how impactful their leadership can be to the success of their classroom, college dorm, or an entire organization. If you track their steps and ask them, you will find that leadership education was the major reason for their success.
How JROTC Programs Build Leadership
It stands to reason that youth with leadership education is more attuned to their personal and professional responsibility. They make good citizens, and they require extraordinarily little guidance in accomplishing their day-to-day routines of study and life management. The Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) program is a leadership-based program that supports all facets of the student’s life from academics to athletics. Leadership is transferable and if a student can lead themself in getting out of bed and preparing for their day, they can also lead their peers to make quality choices in both academics and athletics. Students, parents, coaches, and administrators must select and invest in leadership education and understand that leadership education in today’s changing climate is a premium. Colleges, universities, and organizations look for students with leadership education due to the knowledge and skills their leadership education brings with it.
Leadership Education is Life Changing
Leadership education serves us all. It provides the decision-making and life skills a young person going into adulthood needs. It serves our schools, colleges, and organizations by presenting strong minds that will make a mark on our world that can never be erased. It ensures that we will have quality leaders for generations to come, thereby leading our world to an even better place. I am a product of the JROTC program. Without this program, I may very well have been just another student that fell through the cracks. However, because of the JROTC program, my whole life was set on a course that has ensured success in every area of my life. The practical skills that I discovered through the JROTC program continue with me today.