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4th Marine Corps District

Marine Corps Recruiting Command

College athletes learn about leadership from the Marines

By Sgt. Tyler Hlavac | | October 2, 2014

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The U.S. Marine Corps continued expansion of their outreach to female athletes by conducting leadership seminars with the Capital University and University of Charleston’s women’s basketball teams Sept. 21 and 28.

The seminars, which was conducted by Marines from Recruiting Station Charleston, began with a physical training circuit course consisting of kettle bell swings, tire flips and fireman’s carries. Following the course, the Marines taught afternoon classes on Marine Corps leadership principles and traits, linking together sports and Marine Corps leadership.

RS Charleston has conducted several seminars with high school football teams over the past few months. The women’s basketball teams were chosen to familiarize female athletes with what the Marine Corps has to offer as an organization.

“The Marine Corps is looking for the highest caliber of male and female leaders,” said Capt. Robert Gervasio, an officer selection officer and native of Long Island, New York. “In our experience, female college athletes make some of the best Marine Corps Officers as they understand the importance of teamwork, leadership and demonstrate the ability to overcome challenges in order to win.”

During the seminars, students gathered into small teams and ran through the course as a group. Many of the course events were team orientated, such as taking turns carrying objects of different weight, or working together to maneuver heavy, bulky items such as tractor tires. Each group was timed, putting them into competition with other groups, and no player was allowed to advance until every participant in their group had completed the event. At the end of the event, teams were given their time for the event, with the 1st place team receiving Marine Corps T-Shirts as prizes.

The afternoon portion of the seminar was in the classroom, where the Marines led guided discussions on Marine Corps leadership traits and how to apply them in basketball, school and in the athlete’s personal lives. At various points the players would break into small groups where they would  be led by a Marine in discussion.

Shooting Guard Shelby Sheets, a senior at Capital University, said she was not sure what to expect for the leadership seminar.

“When the Marines were first explaining the course I thought, ‘This is tough. No way we can do this,’” said Sheets. “But once we got going and started helping each other, it became fun. We learned to help each other out, trust each other and work as a team.”


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