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A hand-selected group of Lycoming College students recently set out on to complete the Lycoming College Leadership Experience at Gettysburg. During this two-day experiential learning opportunity, students study leadership on the battlefield as well as in their everyday lives.
Led by staff members from the Gettysburg Foundation and Lycoming College, students spent their first day on an immersive battlefield tour where they learned about the generals who made key decisions on both the Union and Confederate sides. As they examined various demonstrations of leadership styles, they also discussed modern applications for the lessons they learned from the Confederate and Union generals. Through group exercises such as building fences, loading replica cannons, and the intensive battlefield tour, students developed an extensive understanding of leadership both in the Civil War and in their everyday lives.
On the second day, during facilitated conversations led by Jae Ellison, director of Outdoor Leadership and Education, and Kelly Henrie, director of Recreation and Intramurals, students used their newfound knowledge of leadership to discuss their potential influence both on the Lycoming College community and on the world around them.
“Typically, we find the 20 students attending belong to 65-70 unique clubs and activities,” explained Daniel Miller, Ed.D., vice president for Student Life. “That is a WOW moment! It brings a renewed commitment to communication, collaboration, and coordination of efforts to continuously enhance campus programming.”
Students closely reflected upon and drew parallels between the leadership lessons they learned on the battlefield and their individual past experiences. Through these discussions, they were able to brainstorm ways to improve within their leadership roles in the future.
Their trip concluded with a visit to the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center, which displays various relics from the Civil War, as well as a panoramic painting of the battle scene.
“The Leadership Experience at Gettysburg offers students something special. You cannot escape the historical significance of the battle, but taking an in depth look at the personality and character of the officers and the decisions they made provides amazing context for conversations on leadership,” said Miller.