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Learning Leadership at Gettysburg Battlefield
11.11.13 |
On September 21, Lebanon Valley College Student Government members, led by Dr. Steven O’Day, had the opportunity to participate in the “In the Footsteps of Leaders” leadership program in Gettysburg. Taking place on the Gettysburg Battlefield itself, the program incorporated leadership lessons into an interactive tour and retelling of the three-day battle.

Throughout the experience, the students recognized the value that the Battle of Gettysburg has in American history and used the happenings on the battleground as a model for modern, team-building applications. The students used the consequences from the soldiers’ actions and decisions to engage in discussions about effective communication, adaptability, and leadership styles.

The program went beyond group discussions and battlefield stories in order to actively involve the students and bring the battlefield to life. During one part, students were able to recreate a cannon firing, timing themselves to compare their abilities with the skills required of actual soldiers. At other times, students were trekking through the woods, climbing Little Round Top, and reenacting Pickett’s Charge the way the Confederate Armies had done. One student said, “[The program] was engaging and one of the best experiences I have been a part of!”

Although the program only lasted one day, Student Government members plan to integrate the lessons they learned into their meetings and to create personal goals to accomplish over the course of the year. They hope to use the skills they learned during the program to generate a more inclusive and operative environment at LVC.

“I feel that the ‘In the Footsteps of Leaders’ program brought the Student Government retreat to the next level,” said Student Government executive board vice president Kelsey Robinson. “I believe that the group really enjoyed the program and gained a lot from it.” 

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