Inspiring Our Future Leaders

By Thomas D Hart, MOWW Sun City Center Chapter

A  group of excited and curious students showed up at the Plaza Club in Sun City Center to attend a Youth Leadership Seminar. 

Eight different high schools in Hillsborough County–Newsome, Riverview, Plant City, Durant, Bloomingdale, Brandon and East Bay–delegated approximately five students to participate in this conference.  To stimulate new friendships, perspectives, and viewpoints among the students at the Seminar, we placed them into teams with students from different schools.

After a continental breakfast, COL Mike Davis, USMC, (Ret) presented “Three Facets of Leadership.” He explained how effective leaders start with the small challenges and gradually tackle the larger ones.  Then he shared several examples of how a few Presidents exhibited various leadership principles during his tenure of service as the chief pilot of the Marine One helicopter. He concluded his presentation by having students write down qualities of leaders for each letter in the word “leadership”. Then, students shared their ideas in small groups as well as with the whole group.

Next, Ms. Sherill Farell from the Medal of Honor Character Development Program stimulated students’ thinking about their own character and how others see them.  Using the models of small group and audience discussion, she helped them think about the role of character in leadership within both the military service and in civilian life. Through a variety of activities, students also began to think about important leadership characteristics and what characteristics they would like to further develop.  At the conclusion of these stimulating activities, she shared several examples of people who received the Medal of Honor in military or civilian life. 

After lunch, LTC Dr. Chris Shannon, USAF (Ret.) presented, “Tap, Tap, Are You Ready?”  His motivational style thoroughly engaged the students as he shared the importance of being ready to “be a leader” whenever or wherever the opportunity emerges.

The fourth presenter, COL DJ Reyes USA (Ret.), brought “A Soldier’s Perspective” to the study of leadership.  COL Reyes began his presentation by sharing the 10 Commandments of Leadership in a PowerPoint Presentation.

The day ended with the induction of COL Reyes into our local Chapter. He will be a great asset to our Order because of his experiences and dedication.  He will also enhance patriotic education programs throughout the state of Florida as our Chapter expands.

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