Leading by example

Published 12:56 pm Thursday, July 13, 2017

It’s not every day that high school students can stroll through a bucolic college campus, meeting a former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff while learning how to serve his fellow man through service and leadership.

Skills of servant leadership — a concept that’s being adopted by more and more institutions of higher learning across both activities and curricula — was recently instilled in 26 high school students at Hampden-Sydney College (H-SC).

The students — who came from many walks of life — listened to speakers and adopted new skills by undertaking a daunting 50-foot high ropes course and a community service project during the six-day Shelton Leadership Challenge at H-SC.

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One of the best lessons I learned during my time studying at Longwood University was how to serve others through citizen leadership — or by treating others the way I want to be treated, leading by example, being honest and showing fairness to those I come in contact with.

Through the Shelton Leadership Challenge, students don’t have to wait to enroll in college to learn how to lead by example.

Just as Longwood’s many citizen leadership programs offer, The Shelton Leadership Challenge — founded 15 years ago by former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and retired four-star Gen. Hugh Shelton — focuses on cultivating values-based leadership skills in young people that they can then take to their respective communities.

Actions speak much louder than words, the old adage goes, and in today’s society amid a continuous war of words, all of us could use lessons that instill values-based leadership as servants and citizens to our fellow man, better serving our communities.

JORDAN MILES is managing editor of The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. His email address is Jordan.Miles@FarmvilleHerald.com.