Junior leaders work in teams for unique PT
September 26, 2011
Push-ups, sit-ups and running are the usual for Soldiers at 6:30 each morning. But what about synchronized jumping? Running with arms interlocked? Even blindfolds?
For the 80th Ordnance Battalion, 593rd Sustainment Brigade, these were commonplace on "Goose Field" Sept. 16, as the battalion's junior leaders participated in the final morning of competitive team-building activities.
Battalion commander, Lt. Col. Katherine J. Graef sat down with Dr. Eric Bean of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness-Performance and Resiliency Enhancement Program (CSF-PREP), and picked seven challenges from a list of 20, based on issues Soldiers in her unit faced, and the goals she set for the leadership.
Graef chose activities that were not exclusively physically challenging.
"Sometimes we forget people can contribute in other ways," Graef said. "I might not run very fast," Graef gave as an example, "but I'm smart, or I'm a good communicator, or I'm good under pressure."
"I want to show this generation of leaders that there's more than one way to be great and to lead effectively," said Graef. "My overarching objective here was that I want the junior leaders to get to know each other as a peer group so they can go to each other when they meet challenges."
Second Lt. Rebecca S. Deal, the 80th Ord. Bn. Training officer, soon to be a platoon leader for the 63rd Ordnance Company, and native of Havelock, N.C., was the moderator for an exercise in which the members of each team, while blindfolded and without speaking, had to get in chronological order by birthday.
"It was hard not to talk, not to tell them what to do," said Deal, whose role was state the rules, observe the team, then facilitate discussion on the challenges and solutions associated with the exercise, and how it relates to the Soldiers' duties.
Some of them were holding up fingers, some were patting one another on the shoulder and others still were almost kicking each other in an effort to communicate months and days without speaking, said Deal.
"It was interesting to see how my junior leaders are going to work," she said, "and to see how they're thinking and problem-solving."
In addition to daily team-building activities, the corporals, sergeants and lieutenants in the battalion attended classes on the changes to the Officer Evaluation Reporting system, leader development sessions and CSF-PREP. The week-long event concluded with a ceremony in which junior leaders were recognized, followed by a no-host social.
The first 80th Bn. Ord. Junior Leader Development Day was in June of this year. Graef says she plans to host the event biannually.