Leadership Positions and Clubs

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Mixmaestro, May 17, 2010.

  1. Mixmaestro

    Mixmaestro Member

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    Hey,

    I'm applying for the Class of 2015, and understand that the Academy is looking for the ever-quoted "whole-person concept." I'm admittedly strongest in academics, but am also athletic and do community service regularly. My question is, though, where the Academy asks for leadership positions held.

    See, I have this crazy idea about leadership positions and clubs at my school that comes from three years of participating in these type of organizations. My opinion about them, however, is that for the most part they are useless resume-fillers, and have little to no impact on the community. Thus, I have decided that it is a waste to spend time in such useless organizations and rather focus on what matters (i.e. teaching elementary schoolers to wrestle, raising money for the local children's hospital, teaching aerospace classes at my Civil Air Patrol squadron). However, this does not exactly fill a resume when asked about leadership positions. Because of the apparent lack of clubs and activities, my application seems weak.

    I don't want to come off as a brainiac. I'm a well-rounded person. But my application does not show that because I don't believe in leadership- and community-service-based organizations, especially those sponsored by school. How do I convey this? Do I join the meaningless clubs? Do I tell my ALO? I'm just trying to do what I feel is right.

    Always grateful,

    LCDCALR
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I have a problem when you say that you don't believe in leadership. It's contrary to the things you seem proud of. You say you are also into athletics. Are you the captain of any of the athletic teams? This is leadership. You mention teaching subjects in your Civil Air Patrol squadron. Are you telling me you have no desire for leadership in the CAP? Do you not want to progress in rank and take on leadership roles and more responsibility? Sorry, but there seems to be plenty of opportunities for you to have "Leadership" experience; but it sounds like you're looking for excuses for not pursuing it. The #1 most important goal of the United States Air Force Academy, is to make you a future leader. Do you think that maybe they might want to see what type of leadership potential you have?

    OK, so you think that leadership positions in school is mostly eye candy and doesn't mean much. Do you feel that way about CAP? How about Boy's State? How about some of these fund raisers and instructing that you do? Have you ever organized OTHER people together for one of the fund raisers? That's leadership. Or is that also meaningless? I'm not trying to sound cynical. I'm trying to have you see things from a different perspective. Find the things that you are passionate about, and LEAD THEM!!! Lead your athletics team. Lead your Civil Air Patrol. Lead your fund raiser. Stop trying to rationalize and make excuses. Sorry for being blunt. That's sort of my style. Hope the information helps. Best of luck to you. mike....
     
  3. Mixmaestro

    Mixmaestro Member

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    Hey,

    Sorry if I wasn't exactly being clear. I DO believe in leadership. I'm a leader in many things, some of which you mentioned (sports team captain, squad leader and designated Aerospace NCO in CAP (soon to be first sergeant), leader of children's hospital fundraising group, etc.), not to mention a leader among my peers as a wealth of advice and knowledge. I feel I was born to be a leader of other people.

    Which is why, as I said above, I don't like organizations dedicated solely to leadership. Several times I have been involved in "Leadership Academies" and programs "designed" to improve one's leadership skills, and I've always come away from the program feeling cheap, like I just paid ten dollar membership dues to waste time and bulk up my application. I don't like these organizations because, based on my experience alone, there has been no impact of their actions. I know two hundred high schoolers in my high schools leadership development program who joined to help their resume and have done nothing with the skills, if any, gained from the program. The school government is in shambles, crippled by the executive supervision of the administrators. The math club has literally never helped a struggling student during my membership, except when I took the initiative informally. I guess I don't believe in being a part of something that does nothing.

    Fundamentally, a program designed to effect a change cannot be sponsored by the body it seeks to change. Thus, I feel I must take my leadership skills elsewhere, beyond the conventional clubs.

    The children's hospital fundraising? It began as my idea in one of these clubs, and because everyone had to "help" (AKA everyone had to have responsibilities, and some handled it far better than others) it did not succeed to its fullest potential. However, because of a two-year limit on the group's membership, I cannot continue the program. Is that fair to those kids?

    Sorry, but can you honestly say I go contrary to the things I am proud of? I'm proud of my initiative. I'm proud of my hard work. I'm proud of my determination. I'm proud of the fact that I can transcend the traditional high school experience by NOT participating in meaningless "leadership" activities, while still helping the community and inspiring others. In fact, right now I'm in the process of organizing student protests for our right to have nutritional information about the cafeteria food, which is a stepping stone to crafting a healthier menu. This isn't a Student Council thing, it's a human thing and an issue that needs to be addressed.

    So my apologies for being unclear about my motives. Those are the simplest terms I can put things in.

    Always grateful,

    LCDCALR
     
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Sounds like you have leadership experience. So, what's the question? What's the problem. There is no magical list of activities and leadership positions that they want you to check off. I.e. People ask if they should join CAP, or JrROTC, or Scout, or whatever. My answer is: Neither is considered MORE important than another. Just like playing soccer isn't LESS important that Baseball, football, or basketball. Being in CAP doesn't get you more points than Jr ROTC, Scouts, Young Republicans/Democrats, or any other club. This is a common mistake that many applicants make. Either: A) They think that because they were in CAP or JrROTC that somehow that carries more weight and they have a better chance of getting into the academy; or B) They sign up for these activities because they think it will give them an edge. Even if they aren't really passionate about doing it.

    The person who is in the school Band, FBLA, plays tennis, and does meal on wheels has about the same level of points as the person who is doing the Art Club, JrROTC, Football, and volunteers time reading to children.

    In other words, there are literally hundreds of possible clubs, sports, activities, leadership opportunities, etc... The academy wants the well rounded person. They understand that we all have different likes, dislikes, passions, etc... They don't want you involved in certain activities just to "Fill a Square". I know there are a lot of people who think clubs and activities that are similar or related in some way to the military; e.g. CAP, JrROTC, somehow makes them more prepared and preferred in the eyes of the academy. Well, it doesn't. You application and interviews will reveal your TRUE PASSIONS. If you're involved in an activity simply to fill an imaginary block that doesn't exist, your ALO, Congressman, etc... will see through you. E.g. The JrROTC member who's been doing it for either a very SHORT period of time, or a long period of time without progressing into higher positions of authority. Or, the high school varsity football player who's ONLY played their senior year. ALO, Congressman, those on the board, those who interview you, etc... are not stupid. Just be involved in what you're passionate about, and excel in those activities. Best of luck. Mike....
     
  5. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Leadership positions don't need to come from "leadership" clubs.
    Organize an event? That is leadership.
    Are you a leader in CAP, JROTC, Scouts, etc? That is often very good experience.
    Athletic team captain?
    Club president, VP, secretary, etc?
    Youth group leader?

    There a ton of opportunities. Pick the ones that you enjoy.
     
  6. Mixmaestro

    Mixmaestro Member

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    Hey,

    The thing is, I just discussed that I have an issue with clubs and you're throwing clubs at me. It's like saying I don't like ice cream and you telling me I just haven't tried the right flavor yet, when it's not the flavor I mind but the texture. New organizations don't solve my problem when I have an issue with the way clubs are run.

    Always grateful,

    LCDCALR
     
  7. Marine75-78

    Marine75-78 Member

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    Isn't USAFA one huge exclusive club????? :cool:
     
  8. ZoomingFalcon

    ZoomingFalcon Cadet

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    You don't necessarly NEED a club just to say you HAVE a club.

    Like ChristCorp said, its the experience and passion that your ALO and congressional boards will see. The application itself is very narrow when considering your drive and modivation for certain activities. When you have your interviews (which you WILL have), tell them what you're telling us.

    It sounds to me like you are quite modivated towards making a difference regardless of the "club" title that may or may not come with it. That alone is the trait USAFA and MOCs are looking for.
     
  9. Falcon2014

    Falcon2014 Above All

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    USAFA is selective in the people it chooses, yes. But exclusive is the wrong word. That's like saying USMC Force Recon is exclusive because they don't let everyone in. The reason USMA, USNA, and USAFA have the reputation they do is because they're selective, not exclusive. In fact, USAFA class of 2014 is the most diverse class in the school's history, they're not trying to exclude anyone. :thumb:
     
  10. Falcon2014

    Falcon2014 Above All

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    Hey man I went through that same process and had some of the same thoughts. My advice is do a little of both. Pad your resume and make it impressive but at the same time do work that's fulfilling and makes a difference. Then you'll feel good and your resume will look good.
     
  11. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Mixma; no one is throwing clubs at you. You already said that you were involved with certain "Activities". (Feel better? I didn't call them clubs). E.g. CAP, Volunteering, etc... Are you developing leadership roles in these "Activities"? If not, why?

    Now, I don't care if you're "Against" organized clubs or not. You must have a passion for something. You could be against "Organized Religion" and still have faith in God, trees, or whatever. Now, if you don't want to have anything to do with an "Activity" that requires the participation of others to work in conjunction with you, then YOU have a problem. Because that's exactly why the air force academy and others want to know about your involvement and leadership in clubs, activities, organizations, etc... They want to see if you can "Play well with others", as well as lead others. Not one person here said you had to belong to a "School Club". There are plenty of clubs and activities that aren't school related, where you can participate in team work and leadership. But again, if you're against ALL types of organize clubs/activities, and you simply want to be a loner, then there isn't one thing we can do to help guide you. That's what the academy wants. NOT because it pads your resume, but because it demonstrates your ability to be part of a group/team and how good of a leader you have potential for.

    You are totally free to start your own club. Be involved in something you are passionate about, and strive to be a leader in that activity. But if you're going to "Fight" us with semantics and argue that any activity that includes more than just yourself is something that you are against, then I don't know what to tell you. Mike....
     
  12. PDub

    PDub Prospective

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    Dude, listen to Christcorp - he's right on (he usually is). He's a credible source that has helped and provided much information to many of us on this forum, and it'd be foolish not to heed his advice and take to heart what he's saying.
     
  13. C/ 2nd Lt. McKnight

    C/ 2nd Lt. McKnight Member

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    So I'm sure many questions like this have been answered before but I just want some opinions.

    I know that you can display leadership without having an official leader position. However, my assumption is that they also look directly at positions for some amount of the process.

    So here goes my situation. I have been extremely involved in AFJROTC for the past 3 years and will continue next year. 10th grade I held the position of Flight Sergeant. This year, as a junior, I was both a Flight Commander and the Color Guard Commander for second semester. And Tuesday I found out that I have been chosen as Group Commander for next year. And for those of you that do not know, the Group is the entire unit, ours consisting of something between 125 and 150 cadets. Despite these positions with JROTC, I've held little other official positions. Is that going to be a drain on the leadership portion or a boost since I have stuck with the program and achieved the highest possible position?

    Sorry for the long post and thank you in advance for your input.
     
  14. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Quantity AND Quality > Quality > Quantity.
     
  15. Texasrocks

    Texasrocks Member

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    congratulations! I beleive they look for people to excel at what they do. Just make sure you have several community service activities/hours. JROTC like band takes alot of time and while it is not in the atlethic category it shows committment and leadership.
     

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