A Veteran Tale

This past weekend I had to the opportunity to co-facilitate a workshop for the 4th Community Leadership Course for Veterans, which is a program of Leadership Pittsburgh. This experience provides a group of post 9/11 veterans, from every branch of military services, the opportunity to participate in a six-month course that helps them become engaged community leaders.

One of their activities was a low rope course in which they work as a team to climb a big wall, balance their entire team on a big octagonal teeter-totter, and navigate their way across 3 stations and over an “alligator pit.” After each exercise, we had a chance to debrief and discuss their individual and team learnings.

Putting aside their physical capacity (these are all veterans!) it was amazing to see how their actions reflected a resilient mindset.

For example at the wall climb they chose the high wall over the low wall. When they approached the teeter-totter, they were planful about how they tackled it and engaged the engineer in the group so they had a plan and better chance of success.

As all teams do in these exercises, it took a number of failures before they reached success and with each passing failure, they studied what they did wrong and what they could do right. While they may have missed a few resilience strategies such as celebrating victories and seeking consensus, they caught on soon enough which then led to accomplishing the next goal more effectively and efficiently.

For sure, these young vets will make great community leaders and provide a solid future for our community and themselves. They know about adversity and how to grow from it.

© Richard Citrin, All rights reserved, 2017

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