Spring Semester Is Off To A Busy Start For Amherst LEADS

Classes started just over three weeks ago, but Amherst LEADS is already off to a blazing start. It is hard to believe, but each LEADS program has already met once this semester. Participants returned from their January break with great energy and eager to be back with their teammates and fellow student-athletes.

Rock ClimbingThis January marked our first Amherst LEADS field trip, which took place at Hadley Central Rock Climbing Gym. Team captains were in attendance and spent a half-day learning the finer points of trust and communication. For many, this was their first time rock climbing. With the help of the knowledgeable staff at Central Rock, captains were trained to safely belay their climbing partners and were encouraged to step outside of their comfort zones while ascending the rock walls. Our time at Central Rock was incredibly fun and provided our captains with a new and unique experience.

For our first Futures event of the semester, teams had the opportunity to work together with their teammates for an exercise that focused on accountability and goal setting. We also had the pleasure of hearing from guest speaker Craig Breslow, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and Yale University alumnus. Craig spoke candidly about his journey and how he never gave up on his way to the major league, despite enduring several barriers early on in his baseball career. Active in community engagement, Craig spoke about a charity he established called The Strike 3 Foundation, which is committed to raising funds for childhood cancer research.

Participants of the First-Year Initiative program started the semester by examining the results of a personal behavioral analysis. Student-athletes completed a DiSC analysis, which serves to increase self-awareness and while also providing valuable knowledge about how to work with teammates in a productive manner. Next, Daron Roberts took the stage and recounted his unique path to coach in the National Football League. Daron stressed the importance of following your heart and challenging yourself in an effort to always improve and grow. As a two-time Harvard graduate, Daron values the importance of education and started a free football summer camp for high school students called 4th and 1 that incorporates SAT/ACT preparation and other life skills workshops into its curriculum, a camp some of our LEADS participants hope to become involved with.

Amherst LEADS will meet again in late March with all three programs and is looking forward to some very special events, including an evening with Amherst College President Biddy Martin.