The Mission Command Training Program held its annual SHARP Amazing Race on Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, June 21, 2023, to reinforce awareness of the Army's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program and inspire team-building.
The race involved 5-person teams navigating between stations set up around Fort Leavenworth in a race for time.
The concept was popularized by a CBS reality television show, The Amazing Race, started in 2001. The event features 12 teams of two in a traveling race around the world with a limited budget for a one-million-dollar prize to the first team to reach the end. It has several stops where teams perform physical and mental challenges, figure out clues, and navigate to their next stop.
MCTP's version was a footrace with multiple stations testing their knowledge of the SHARP program elements, such as prevention techniques, appropriate response, and advocacy services.
The teams were tested physically with rigorous exercises. Then with trivia, puzzles, and situational vignettes.
"We want to get people talking about SHARP instead of just teaching it," said Lt. Col. Craig Arnold, MCTP's SHARP program lead. "This gets our teams out of the classroom while still learning all of the critical elements of the class."
Although April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, Arnold encourages units to conduct events like it year-round to keep it at the forefront and drive the program's goals into the unit culture.
"Engaging events like these are crucial to raising awareness of SHARP and practicing intervention skills in a safe environment," said Arnold. It also allows them to learn first-hand how their actions can make a difference in eradicating this problem.
This year marks the 15th anniversary since the Army launched Phase I of its sexual assault prevention strategy at the first annual SHARP Summit in 2008. Since its inception, the SHARP program has been vital to protecting the Army community’s well-being and promoting respectful and ethical practices.
Activities like the Amazing Race seem to be valuable tools for helping create environments where the Army’s values are embraced rather than simply preached.