CAMP SHELBY, Miss. -- Beta Club members from Purvis High School, Purvis, Miss. recently attended a Leadership Experience Day hosted by the Soldiers the of the 177th Armored and 158th Infantry Brigades.

The Beta Club promotes the ideals of academic achievement, character, service, and leadership among elementary and secondary school students. Service and leadership are two key elements of military service.

"Exercising leadership qualities helps you stay aware of your environment and helps daily decision making," said Maverick P. Johnson, 10th grader and Beta Club member.

The visit began with a discussion on small unit leadership. Soldiers assigned to 2nd Battalion, 410th Field Artillery Regiment, 177th Ar Bde., used their real-world jobs as trainer mentors to show different leadership fundamentals and techniques and to discuss leadership at all levels in the Army.

"I've adapted a short and simple philosophy so subordinates within my organization can easily understand and apply," said Capt. Paul M Jacques, lead planning officer of culminating training events 2nd Bn, 410th FA, 177th Ar Bde.

"My leadership philosophy is based on two tenants: treat others the way you want to be treated (Golden Rule), and foster a positive work climate where everyone is treated fairly," said Jacques. "In the military, we call this a command climate."

Next, the students watched training scenarios which forced leaders to make decisions at squad and company levels. The trainers from 158th Inf Bde hosted this phase of the visit to show leadership principals in the field.

"The Beta Club visit was an important success because it gave the members a uniquely realistic view of leadership through the lens of the U.S. Army," explained Capt. Tommy S. Horne, trainer/mentor senior advisor, 158th Inf Bde. "The students are not accustomed to such a view."

Horne explained students familiar with leadership roles in school or sports get a different perspective when they see it in a military or combat setting.

"It is not as important to instruct leadership as it is to set an example," said Horne. "I have learned far more leadership skills from observing my command's behavior and character than I could ever recall from any textbook lesson on leadership."

"It was really intense to watch Soldiers make decisions in this element," said Johnson.

The event culminated with lunch and discussion with Col. Dale Kuehl and Command Sgt Maj. Andrew Swanson, the 177th Ar Bde commander and senior enlisted advisor. The 177th command team focused on increasing the students' knowledge of leadership fundamentals and development.

First Army ensures mobilization training is relevant, realistic and reflects the most current conditions Soldiers will face in theater. First Army Division East directly supports the Chief of Staff of the Army's priority of providing trained, equipped and ready forces to win the current fight, while maintaining responsiveness for unforeseen contingencies.