We’ve all heard the phrase “born leader” at some point. We believe that leadership isn’t an inherent trait, but a learned quality that can be taught. Culver has been teaching young men to be leaders in all aspects of life since 1894 through a methodical process that starts with learning to follow.
Learning to Lead
Followership. Not the first word that comes to mind when talking about leadership. But it’s the foundation of the New Cadet System put in place to orient new CMA students with the leadership program.
With an emphasis on following, new cadets will learn about Culver, its traditions and history, as well as etiquette. All of these lessons will be taught in the “Orientation to Culver” course required of each new student.
Upon successful completion of the course, military training and maintaining good standing in citizenship, a new cadet is invited to the Branch Qualification Boards process. This process is a combination of both a written and oral exam to test the new cadet on everything he has learned about the military leadership system, Culver’s history, and his unit. If he passes “boards” he is no longer considered a new cadet but an official member of his unit.
Leading By Example
After branch qualification, cadets are qualified to move into higher leadership positions within the Corps of Cadets. As they mature within the military system, they assume greater levels of responsibility including supervisory responsibility for the performance and training of younger cadets, and are evaluated and mentored by their counselors, military mentors and other staff members at Culver.
The learning experience is broadened with the young men rotating through a number of leadership positions throughout each school year. The practical leadership learning experience culminates during the First Class (or senior) year as cadets assume responsibility for guiding their peers at the squad, platoon, company or regiment level. This leadership experience is very real and reinforces the concepts of responsibility, accountability, service, and teamwork that were first learned as a new cadet, in and out of the classroom.
The young men that have earned the challenge and privilege of occupying the middle and higher leadership positions in this practicum arguably have had more experience in what it means to be a responsible leader than most young Americans have had two to three years out of college.
Each cadet is assigned to a unit – the group that he will live with for his time at Culver. There are 9 units that fall under 3 battalions.