FORT LEAVENWORTH, KS – Lt. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr., Commanding General of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, unveiled a new program for students and educators titled “Operation Frontier Fellowship” during a Youth Outreach Symposium June 2.
Local school superintendents were invited to the inaugural symposium to learn about the program that will empower students between the ages of 11 to 17 and their educators by fostering leadership skills, values, and character traits essential for success in both life and education.
“The public we serve doesn’t always know what the military does and what we can offer to our communities,” Beagle said to the group of superintendents. “Fort Leavenworth is the intellectual center for the Army and all Army leaders eventually come here. Leadership is about giving back to the community.”
Operation Frontier Fellowship will leverage guest speakers and base tours to provide students with leadership tools to navigate challenges and excel in personal and academic endeavors. The program will also provide valuable continuing education hours for teachers, which can contribute to meeting licensure requirements. This unique feature ensures that educators can simultaneously enhance their professional development while supporting students’ growth and development.
A similar program was started in Wallenpaupack, Pennsylvania, in 2022 when Beagle was the Commanding General of Fort Drum, New York. A teacher in the Wallenpaupak School District sent a tweet to Beagle asking if he would speak to her leadership class students. What started as a simple tweet developed into a partnership between the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum and students for the school district. The partnership included scheduled field trips to Fort Drum that allowed the students to see that the Soldiers in the Army are not always what’s depicted in the movies.
Several students and administrators from Wallenpaupack School District attended the symposium to share their experiences.
“It showed students that Soldiers are just people like us and changed the viewpoint a lot of the students had towards the military,” said Tyler Lofberg, a senior at Wallenpaupack High School who participated in the program. “How Soldiers are portrayed in the movies or on TV isn’t how they really are. I was expecting a lot of shouting and yelling, but it’s not like that.”
The goal of the symposium on Fort Leavenworth was to offer a similar program to local students in Kansas and Missouri.
“This is an opportunity to build strong relationships with our communities and invest in our youth who are our country’s future leaders,” said Lt. Col. Megan Jantos, the inform cell chief at the Combined Arms Center.
One superintendent in attendance knows the opportunities that are available to other local schools. Dr. Keith Mispagel is the superintendent of Fort Leavenworth Unified School District 207, which is located on Fort Leavenworth. He sees the potential for a program that not only helps students academically, but also helps them become better citizens.
“This is a foundational program that can affect your school,” Mispagel told the other superintendents. “Leaderships lessons from the military are remarkable. It’s a leadership journey for our students.”