Types of Leadership

Do the academies see a difference in leadership type between let's say an Eagle Scout and a team captain? Or is it all pretty much the same?
 

flieger83

Super Moderator
10-Year Member
ALL leadership is valuable and is seen as such. Never try to value one over the other; rather, think of it this way: an opportunity avails itself...do you seize the challenge or sit back and observe?

Steve
USAFA ALO
USAFA '83
 

Christcorp

10-Year Member
Flieger; as always, is correct.

Similar questions are asked all the time. Concerning the application, Is JrROTC better band; is Scouts better than Spanish Club; is Football better than track; etc. Anyone who tries to "COMPARE" one activity, sport, volunteering, leadership, etc. against another, doesn't know the FIRST THING about the academies or the application process.

The academy doesn't care one bit WHICH sport you are involved in. They don't care WHICH activities you are in. They aren't trying to recruit 1200 football players; or 1200 eagle scouts; etc. They don't care one bit WHAT you are involved with.

What they DO CARE ABOUT, is what you DO with your time IN that activity. Did you seek and achieve leadership positions in the activity? Did you GROW and help the others in that activity GROW in their/your personal growth and development? Did you become a more diverse and active member of the team?

The bottom line is; if you COMPARE any two or more activities, clubs, sports, etc. in an attempt to "Improve" your chances in the application process...... they you have no idea what the academy is looking for. As such, you'll probably wind up involved in activities/sports/clubs/ec that you aren't happy with; and you won't advance or succeed in such activities. THAT WILL negatively affect your application.

Fortunately, some activities like scouts, show YEARS of commitment and dedication. An eagle scout is impressive, because it means you've most likely been a boy scout for 7-8 years. Now; if you're applying to the academy and you're only a 2nd class scout, and have only been involved for about 1-2 years, that isn't very impressive. But whether you're an eagle scout or Life Scout, both show the YEARS of dedication.

Same applies to JrROTC, CAP, Sports teams, etc. If you're on the football team, and are only on the varsity team because you're senior and it's the school's rules; and you never played a real game because this is your first year.......... then that doesn't look good at all on the application. Matter of fact, the academy can tell that you probably only joined the team to "PAD YOUR APPLICATION". Trust me; I've seen a LOT of people try and PAD their academy and college applications by getting involved with things their senior year. Things that they THOUGHT would look good on their application. They forget that admissions folks; at both the academies and universities, are not idiots. They can see right through your intent.

Do the clubs, activities, sports, EC, etc. that you WANT TO DO. Do your BEST in those activities. Rise to the challenge of accepting leadership positions in those activities. Do it BECAUSE YOU ENJOY IT; NOT because it's improving your college application. If that's the reason, you're sure to not succeed in it. And remember...... SPORTS is NOT about being physically fit. Sports are important for many other reasons. Read the sticky on this subject.

Best of luck. Mike
 
Flieger; as always, is correct.

Similar questions are asked all the time. Concerning the application, Is JrROTC better band; is Scouts better than Spanish Club; is Football better than track; etc. Anyone who tries to "COMPARE" one activity, sport, volunteering, leadership, etc. against another, doesn't know the FIRST THING about the academies or the application process.

The academy doesn't care one bit WHICH sport you are involved in. They don't care WHICH activities you are in. They aren't trying to recruit 1200 football players; or 1200 eagle scouts; etc. They don't care one bit WHAT you are involved with.

What they DO CARE ABOUT, is what you DO with your time IN that activity. Did you seek and achieve leadership positions in the activity? Did you GROW and help the others in that activity GROW in their/your personal growth and development? Did you become a more diverse and active member of the team?

The bottom line is; if you COMPARE any two or more activities, clubs, sports, etc. in an attempt to "Improve" your chances in the application process...... they you have no idea what the academy is looking for. As such, you'll probably wind up involved in activities/sports/clubs/ec that you aren't happy with; and you won't advance or succeed in such activities. THAT WILL negatively affect your application.

Fortunately, some activities like scouts, show YEARS of commitment and dedication. An eagle scout is impressive, because it means you've most likely been a boy scout for 7-8 years. Now; if you're applying to the academy and you're only a 2nd class scout, and have only been involved for about 1-2 years, that isn't very impressive. But whether you're an eagle scout or Life Scout, both show the YEARS of dedication.

Same applies to JrROTC, CAP, Sports teams, etc. If you're on the football team, and are only on the varsity team because you're senior and it's the school's rules; and you never played a real game because this is your first year.......... then that doesn't look good at all on the application. Matter of fact, the academy can tell that you probably only joined the team to "PAD YOUR APPLICATION". Trust me; I've seen a LOT of people try and PAD their academy and college applications by getting involved with things their senior year. Things that they THOUGHT would look good on their application. They forget that admissions folks; at both the academies and universities, are not idiots. They can see right through your intent.

Do the clubs, activities, sports, EC, etc. that you WANT TO DO. Do your BEST in those activities. Rise to the challenge of accepting leadership positions in those activities. Do it BECAUSE YOU ENJOY IT; NOT because it's improving your college application. If that's the reason, you're sure to not succeed in it. And remember...... SPORTS is NOT about being physically fit. Sports are important for many other reasons. Read the sticky on this subject.

Best of luck. Mike

After reading my original question, I can see the wording was somewhat off. I'm not asking if an Eagle Scout looks better than a football team captain or vise versa. I'm asking if an Eagle Scout shows the same leadership traits as a team captain or are the traits different in a way? Thanks!
 

Mikeandcris

Parents of 2014 Grad and F-15 Pilot
10-Year Member
5-Year Member
My two cents: If you're a scout, become an Eagle Scout. If you're on a sports team, become a captain. If you're on the Chess Club, become the president. The academy wants leaders.....so, plain and simple, be a leader in high school regardless of whether your passion is scouting, tackling, shooting jumpers, or saying check mate.
 

Daretodream

5-Year Member
Unless I am mistaken you are asking us to compare apples to oranges. In scouting, it is the individual who controls (for the most part) their ability to earn Eagle Scout while many times Captaining a sports team is not the decision of the applicant.

The SAs understand scouting and the type of person who usually attains Eagle Scout. Eagle Scouts have succeeded at SAs in high numbers so it is a leadership tool associated with leadership for applications. In the same manner many times Captains are selected because of the respect they have earned from teammates and coaches so it too can be a great example of a person's leadership abilities. With both you can bet there will be questions on the selection, how leadership was achieved and what was accomplished by you as the leader. This is why you are hearing responses that it is not what you lead but how you lead it that should set you apart from others.

In my business we strive to simplify complicated matters, so here is my simple approach to being the best candidate possible for a SA. First, understand they look for the whole person so you need to focus on all three areas: academics, leadership and athletics. Second, understand you likely will not master all three areas. Third, look at the recent class stats and set goals to beat the median for the class. Accomplishing this will not guarantee you an appointment, but it will guarantee you are competitive. Finally, control what you can control and enjoy high school.
 
DS just did the majority of the heavy lifting on his Eagle Leadership Project. It was the culmination of 10 years of Scouting experience. As a mom and one of his volunteers, I was amazed at how he chose people for each job, how he stood back and watched the big picture, but could step in, do the little things in a pinch, teach others how to do their jobs, then enable success.

Getting those skills is the goal, you get them by working the program. If you can demonstrate and explain how you implement leadership, communication, task oriented success, and good solid management - you're on your way! Eagle might be the rank and the final link in the chain, but if you learned those skills as First Class and as a Troop Guide or Quartermaster or a Patrol Leader, that's where the real magic happened.
 

Christcorp

10-Year Member
MikeandChris answered it perfectly. WHATEVER activity you're involved in, do it because you want to and strive to advance as high is participation and leadership that you can.

Don't ask if an Eagle Scout shows the same leadership traits as the captain of the football team. That "IS COMPARING" the two. Don't do it. DaretoDream is correct that you're trying to compare apples to oranges.

You might as well ask if an Eagle Scout displays the same leadership traits as his sister who received the Gold Award in the Girl Scouts. Or his older brother who received the Billy Mitchell award in the Civil Air Patrol. You can't say "Same Leadership Traits". Leadership....... is Leadership. Leadership is ACTION. It's not a rank, position, or award that a person holds. It's how you manage, treat, organize, and lead individuals under your span of control; for whatever particular activity or mission you're doing. It doesn't matter if it's the captain of the football team, or the JrROTC Commander, President of the Spanish Club, or leading fund raisers, Meals on Wheels coordinator, etc. There are SO MANY forms of leadership. Leadership is an ACTION; as such; ALL forms of Leadership SHARE THE SAME TRAITS. It doesn't matter WHAT or WHO you are leading.
 

Christcorp

10-Year Member
On a SIDE-NOTE:

Not trying to be a jerk. But what is the "motivation" for asking the question? If you are 10-12 years old, then the motivation might be: "I am interested in the academies; I need to decide between doing scouts and striving for Eagle, or pursuing sports and striving to be the team captain".

On the other hand, if you're 15-18, then it's too late to "Change your Course". If someone answered SPECIFICALLY; "Sports Team Captain is the highest form of leadership in the Academy's Eye";......... would you STOP being a boy scout and try to become a "Team Captain" all of a sudden. Probably too late to make such a decision.

I've said way too many times. "Concentrate and work on the things you CAN CHANGE and INFLUENCE; and don't worry at all about the things you have NO CONTROL OVER". This is one of those things. No matter what the answer to your question is; the followup question is: "WHAT DOES IT MATTER". You can't change your activities to that degree this late in the process. If you're the 10-12 year old reading this post, then you're trying to be involved in activities that "LOOK BETTER" on your resume/application. That is BAD NEWS. Because, unless you're passionate about the activity, you're not going to succeed at that high of a level like Eagle Scout or Team captain; and the activity will have been a complete waste of time.

The only reason I even answered the question, was so those "WHO AREN'T Eagle Scouts or Team Captains" don't get discouraged in their application process and think they don't have a change. Simply because their leadership experience happens to be the President of the Spanish Club; or they're the shift manager at the Local Pizza Restaurant. Leadership comes in many flavors, but they ALL SHARE THE SAME TRAITS. Asking about different leadership activities, without any chance or opportunity of changing your path; depending on the answer to the question; is simply as waste of time on something you have absolutely no control over.
 
On a SIDE-NOTE:

Not trying to be a jerk. But what is the "motivation" for asking the question? If you are 10-12 years old, then the motivation might be: "I am interested in the academies; I need to decide between doing scouts and striving for Eagle, or pursuing sports and striving to be the team captain".

On the other hand, if you're 15-18, then it's too late to "Change your Course". If someone answered SPECIFICALLY; "Sports Team Captain is the highest form of leadership in the Academy's Eye";......... would you STOP being a boy scout and try to become a "Team Captain" all of a sudden. Probably too late to make such a decision.

I've said way too many times. "Concentrate and work on the things you CAN CHANGE and INFLUENCE; and don't worry at all about the things you have NO CONTROL OVER". This is one of those things. No matter what the answer to your question is; the followup question is: "WHAT DOES IT MATTER". You can't change your activities to that degree this late in the process. If you're the 10-12 year old reading this post, then you're trying to be involved in activities that "LOOK BETTER" on your resume/application. That is BAD NEWS. Because, unless you're passionate about the activity, you're not going to succeed at that high of a level like Eagle Scout or Team captain; and the activity will have been a complete waste of time.

The only reason I even answered the question, was so those "WHO AREN'T Eagle Scouts or Team Captains" don't get discouraged in their application process and think they don't have a change. Simply because their leadership experience happens to be the President of the Spanish Club; or they're the shift manager at the Local Pizza Restaurant. Leadership comes in many flavors, but they ALL SHARE THE SAME TRAITS. Asking about different leadership activities, without any chance or opportunity of changing your path; depending on the answer to the question; is simply as waste of time on something you have absolutely no control over.

Fyi I am both an Eagle Scout and a Co-Captain of my varsity football team. Thanks for your input. Much appreciated!
 

Christcorp

10-Year Member
Then it sounds like you have both cases covered. You'll find that the class profile of cadets entering the academy; that only 18% of the cadets were in Boy/Girl scouts. Only 10% were Eagle-Boy or Gold-Girl scouts. Whereas; 81% of all cadets had one or more Varsity Letters in Sports. 13% were in JrROTC. 10% were in CAP. And the list goes on.

Other than varsity letters in sports, you'll find that most appointees never break past the 20% participation in any ONE PARTICULAR activity. Band hits the 21% and because any university is "Academic Based", 65% were in the National Honor Society. But all others are in the LOW TEEN % or even single digits.

So, for all the others reading this, get into activities you're passionate about. Then, strive to attain the highest level of participation and leadership you can in those activities. Do that; and you'll be fine.
 

jwest182

USAFA Cadet C/O 2019
5-Year Member
To sort of answer this from a different perspective, once you are at the Academy, no one really cares what you did in high school. I know what some of my extremely close friends did, just from getting to know them, but most people just care about how you are at the Academy itself. If you work hard, and show that you care about your people, others will see that and judge you based on that, not on what activities you may or may not have done in high school. Just my few cents...
 

Hoodlum15

Member
Perhaps I'm reading into your question the wrong way, but I'll throw in my two cents in a slightly different direction. The Academy sees all different kinds of leadership styles. Yes, the Academy tries to mold you and shape you and teach you leadership principles, but ultimately you maintain YOUR personality which will guide YOUR leadership style. Some people refuse to yell, some tend to micromanage, some are really motivational, some are extremely passionate, it all depends. Do activities like Scouts or sports shape this? Of course, but those are only small factors in an individual's overall leadership style and they will affect each individual differently.
 
Top