Forty-one players from the Waynesville High School football team participated in the Team Development Course Oct. 6 on Fort Leonard Wood.

Hosted by the 787th Military Police Battalion, which serves as the Partner in Education with the high school, the event's purpose was to boost morale and to improve team spirit among the players.

Athletes had to work together by assessing the situation, then develop a plan on how they would successfully complete each obstacle as a team.

"I thought it would be great for our kids to have the opportunity to learn to work together," said Brad Drehley, WHS head coach. "Anytime you're put into situations where you have to think and work together it's an outstanding thing for us to have an opportunity to do it."

Junior Ethan Gatzemeyer, tight end for the team, said at first he was a bit apprehensive about the course.

"I was nervous at first while we were driving up here and saw the equipment and tall structures, it's kind of intimidating," he said.

But as his team proceeded through each obstacle together, Gatzemeyer said his confidence increased.

"We (got) to work as a team and accomplish some goals," he said. "I think it works pretty well for camaraderie. Hopefully that will carry over to the field and everybody will have a good time on the field like we are right now. I'm pretty confident, I think we've got the teamwork down now."

According to Lt. Col. Steve Caruso, 787th Military Police Battalion commander, the exercise not only demonstrated team development but also allowed the battalion to showcase the military.

"These young students, student-athletes especially, should be able to take a look at how the military operates," he said. "If they are considering joining the military, this is a great opportunity to come and spend the day with some drill sergeants and these exercises can't be completed or won without teamwork. No one person can go through these events and be successful, we're really going to try and make sure they understand that and work on some of those team-building exercises."

Caruso also added many service members participated in team sports before joining the military.

"Ask any of these senior leaders and they'll tell you that their military career was catapulted from their time playing sports and the time they had on teams while growing up," he said. "That's when it starts, you find out who the leaders of the team are when they start looking around wondering, 'who's coming in second' and the next thing you know they're joining the Army."