Strength for the Future: The North Texas Chapter AUSA Leadership Program

By Antal, John | Army, January 2013 | Go to article overview

Strength for the Future: The North Texas Chapter AUSA Leadership Program


Antal, John, Army


In Dallas, Texas, the North Texas Chapter (NTC) of AUSA is leading a charge to help inspire, coach, teach and mentor the future leaders of our Army. In 2011, the NTC decided to create a leadership program focused on college Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) cadets in the North Texas area. The philosophy behind this program is that good leaders are made, not born; thus leadership is the art of influence. It is a sacred trust, an intangible quality that provides purpose, direction and motivation to get people to act together to accomplish a goal. You can rise to the level of your leadership, raise your "leadership quotient" and improve across the entire spectrum of life. The NTC leadership program provides opportunities for local individual ROTC cadets and members of the local North Texas community to do just that by participating in "Leadership and a Movie" events and Leadership Development Battlefield Staff Rides.

Leadership and a Movie

The concept behind the Leadership and a Movie program is to use powerful and relevant films to generate a discussion about leadership that is both exciting and motivating.

The dramatic examples of leadership shown in the films are used to discuss how to improve the participants' understanding of leadership and raise their individual leadership quotient.

The process for Leadership and a Movie is simple and something any AUSA chapter can undertake. NTCs Leadership and a Movie events are held four times a year. Dinner is provided by the NTC for all participants. (Fundraising helps defer the cost to the NTC, and private donations have kept these events in the black.) Before the film, the context and setting are explained in a short briefing. Next, a panel of experienced business, community, government and military veterans from the area highlight lessons to look for during the film. After the film, the leadership panel reconvenes to discuss these lessons in greater detail, tell personal stories of leadership in business, government or the military, and answer questions from the audience.

NTC has funded and conducted five Leadership and a Movie experiences in the past 14 months, screening the movies "The Crossing" (George Washington at the Battle of Trenton in 1776), "Battle: Los Angeles" (marines, soldiers and airmen fight an alien invasion), "The Alamo" (the 2004 version of the heroic struggle for Texas' independence), "Centurion" (a dramatic story of a centurion in the Roman Legions in Britannia in the 1st century A.D.), and "Glory" (the story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War). Each movie was selected for its leadership lessons, entertainment value and the likelihood of engaging the audience in a leadership discussion. The question-and-answer segment of the program emphasizes the lessons learned and has generated some powerful discussions about leadership as participants assimilate leadership lessons to help raise their leadership quotient.

The latest Leadership and a Movie experience involved discussing the leadership lessons learned from the movie "Glory." The film was based on the true story of the heroic 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment - one of the first official African- American units in the United States during the Civil War - which was decimated as it spearheaded the assault on Fort Wagner near Charleston, S.C., in July 1863. The story is told from the point of view of COL Robert Gould Shaw, the commanding officer of the 54th, and the leadership lessons gleaned from the movie kept the audience in conversation for an hour after the showing. This film helped the cadets better understand the leadership, tactics and challenges of military operations in the Civil War and prepared them for the next stage of the NTC leadership program - a battlefield staff ride to Vicksburg, Miss.

NTC Battlefield Staff Rides

The NTC Battlefield Staff Ride program takes a group of leadership students (ROTC or corporate groups) to a historic battlefield under the mentorship of a team of expert leaders. …

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