The five federal service academies are, first and foremost, leadership institutions tasked with providing their parent services with the highest quality junior officers. These young men and women represent the “best of the best” and receive a nationally ranked education and world-renowned training opportunity to establish the very foundation of the officer corps. Both the academic and athletic portions of the academy experience contribute to their growth as sound and knowledgeable leaders of character and integrity. It is clear that the academies invest heavily into the creation of young cadets and midshipmen as leaders because they cast the dye for the uniform cloth that represents each service. Given the emphasis placed on leadership at the academies, it is logical to assume that Greystone would also invest much time and energy in leadership training so that our students enter the academies as proven, experienced and capable leaders of character.
|Lieutenant General Dave Palmer, USA (Ret.), Former Superintendent of West Point and Distinguished Graduate from the Class of 1956 - "Character is your destiny".|
To accomplish this goal of leadership development, Greystone requested guidance and assistance from the academies to establish a Professional Development program that consists of a Character Development course, Leadership Training course, Klocko Leadership Lecture Series, Hatchett Character Development Series, participation in Adventuring Crew (high adventure scouting), Toastmasters (public speaking and communication skills improvement) as well as involvement in community service. The intent of the Professional Development program is to establish a foundational platform from which students will enter the academies knowing what was expected of them and set the example for their classmates to follow. Greystone developed the Character Development and Leadership Training programs from course material received from West Point, Naval Academy and Air Force Academy Ethics, Leadership and Law courses as well as their Honor programs. Through the Greystone Professional Development Program, students are introduced to the fundamentals of leadership, ethics and morality - and then given the opportunity to work with what they learn as leaders.
|Character is the foundation upon which we must build to win respect. Just as no building can be erected on a weak foundation, so no lasting reputation worthy of respect can be built on a weak character.
- R.C. Samsel
The Greystone Character Development and Leadership Training courses empower each class with the knowledge and understanding needed to write its own Honor Code/Concept as well as its own Standards of Conduct. Through this exercise, students grasp the purpose behind the academy honor codes/concepts in addition to the need for academy rules and regulations. The Greystone Class must not only create each document from scratch, they must also agree on content – and then present their work in a public forum. In this ceremony, students present their Honor Code/Concept along with their Standards of Conduct, answer questions from the community and at the end, sign each document signifying their intent to live by their Code and Standard. What makes the Greystone program so unique and meaningful for our students is that the Honor Code and Standards of Conduct are owned and enforced by the students. Members of the Greystone Honor and Conduct Committees are tasked to investigate all suspected violations and present their findings to the Class. The Greystone Staff oversees the entire process; however, it is a powerful learning tool to ensure that Greystone students live by a higher standard … the academy standard.
In addition to the development of the Class Honor Code and Standards of Conduct, the Character Development and Leadership Training courses provide students with real-time opportunities to test their values, beliefs, honor, integrity and courage to do what is right by engaging in in-depth analysis of current examples of character and leadership. Through class interaction, role-playing and guest speakers, students are provided with a hands-on experience that forces them to assess their decisions and actions as leaders of character and honor. Classroom exercises expand beyond the confines of the campus into teambuilding and leadership opportunities provided by our Adventuring Crew activities and participation in the ROTC JFTX (Reserve Officer Training Corps, Joint Forces Training Exercise) where Greystone engages other ROTC units in competition at Fort Hood. Our objective is to allow students to understand and comprehend the “basics” of leadership and character, and when ready, present them with opportunities in which they can test themselves individually and as a team. The test results are yet to be fully completed, however, it is clear that the Greystone Character Development and Leadership Training program has played a role in a bare minimum number of academy conduct offences, “zero” honor offences, six Greystoners used their experience with the Greystone Honor Committee to serve on academy honor committees, and three who assumed leadership positions within the various academy honor programs as seniors. On the world stage, Greystone graduates have played a role in international events as members of SEAL Teams and on ships recovering survivors from the Japanese tsunami - and they did so as leaders of honor and character. Others Greystoners who are recent academy graduates are in Flight Training, Nuclear Submarine Training, Intelligence Officer School, Surface Warfare Officer School, The Basic School (Marine Corps) – they are living their dream honorably!
One of the more significant portions of the Greystone experience has to do with the students exercising their leadership and decision-making skills. During the first semester, students learn about the Greystone standard and our expectation regarding their academic, athletic and leadership performance directly from the Staff and their expanded interactions with the Board of Directors, Advisory Board members, Greystone Auxiliary and our volunteers. This portion of the program is extremely time consuming as well as manpower intensive with respect to individual counseling and team organizational meetings, but the students soon learn, put into practice and internalize the higher standard and expectation of being a Greystone student. This is of extreme importance to their development as effective leaders because upon their return from the Christmas Holiday, the students assume the authority for the day-to-day operation of the Greystone program.
|I believe that you can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.
- Zig Zigler
They must work as a team – all are assigned leadership responsibilities and therefore they must exercise what they have learned as leaders, teammates and followers to get things accomplished – toward the ultimate goal of demonstrating they can succeed on their own without Greystone. They will try as a leader – sometimes they will succeed and sometimes they will fail – but failure only means they will try something else in order to succeed. As a leader, they will soon realize that giving up is not an option – success requires making decisions until they succeed. When other students depend upon them as their leader to succeed, this lesson and experience become priceless. Leadership is best learned, not necessarily by reading a book, but by putting it to the test and that means experience! This experience not only serves to empower the leader, but it also helps to bind the team closer together as a unit by learning how to motivate and inspire their teammates to help them to accomplish their established goals. Leadership in a vacuum or leadership by oneself is not leadership – it requires others!
During each semester, students are selected from the Class to serve as team leaders and organizers. Students are assigned as the Class President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Schreiner Student Senate Representative, Operations Officer, Logistics Officer, Community Service Coordinator, Public Relations Officer, Athletic Coordinators, Academic Coordinators, Recruiting Coordinator, Skeet and Trap Club Coordinator, Toastmasters officers, and Honor and Conduct Committee staff. Not all students will be awarded a leadership position during the Fall Semester; however, students rotate positions during the Spring Semester to ensure that all students have a leadership responsibility. Having such responsibility forces students to work together as a team toward a common or shared goal. The “Team” concept serves Greystone well because it forces students to help each other. In so doing, the team improves its overall level of performance – weakness is replaced with strength for both the team and the individual. This has application in all Greystone activities including academics, athletics and leadership.
Particular emphasis is placed upon the development of an individual's moral compass. With students joining the Greystone team from around the country, not every candidate arrives with the same set of core values or an understanding of character and integrity – not every moral compass is necessarily aligned to true North. Within Greystone, there is no “rule book” or “regulation manual” – the students will get all that and more when they arrive at the academies. Rather, our focus is to develop a reliable “moral compass” that the candidate will come
Integrity is the commitment to do what is right regardless of the circumstances - no hidden agendas, no political games. do the right thing, period.
- Ken Carnes
to rely upon as part of his or her decision-making process. What it boils down to is the development of the ability to determine on their own what is “right and wrong” – and then get them to act on what is right because it is the right thing to do! This is not an easy undertaking for candidates who are 18 or 19 years old, however, success in this endeavor will help them immensely when they arrive at the academies and assume the responsibility as a leader. Once developed, some of our students refer to it as their “inner voice” and some even say it sounds much like the Director’s voice, however, whatever it is called, it serves them as a guide that will empower them to become a better leader and decision maker. Where they are going in their military career does not often afford them the luxury of time to make a study, take a poll or read a report in order to make a decision. This is where a strong moral compass comes into play and this is why we spend so much time working with students to exercise their sense of character which then refines their own ability to determine what is right or wrong – we align their moral compass. By dedicating much of the program to the development of a higher sense of character, integrity and honor, Greystone students are better prepared to make that seamless lateral transition into the academy lifestyle.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.
In addition to the formal Professional Development courses that are taught on Saturday mornings, students attend evening lectures as part of the Hatchett and Klocko Lecture series. Students hear from exceptional leaders of character and integrity who have experienced what it means to be a leader in the military and civilian world. In addition to the lecture, students are afforded the opportunity to talk with the speakers and to ask them questions – a vital key to enhanced development of our leaders. To supplement their professional development as future leaders, Greystone students are members of the Greystone Toastmasters Club that meets every Friday. Through Toastmasters, students learn about the art of public speaking and effective communication – and then are required to put what they have learned into practice.
Greystone students are part of their own Adventuring Crew. Through this organization, Greystoners experience team-building, leadership and responsibility in high adventure outdoor environments. The Adventuring Crew also enables students to learn the meaning of “servant leadership” through hands-on community service in the Texas Hill Country. Each student contributes to local schools and organizations such as Nimitz Elementary School, Notre Dame Catholic School, the Salvation Army, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the American Cancer Society (Relay for Life), Rotary, San Antonio Food Banks, and The First Tee. Through their community service, they have the chance to exercise their leadership skills as a mentor as well as a team leader in an organized environment. This empowers each candidate to further develop their self-confidence and feel a strong sense of accomplishment such that what they are doing for others really does matter and make a difference.