Amherst LEADS Kicks Off 2013-2014 Programming

Amherst LEADS recently concluded a busy start to the school year with four events in a five-week period within each of its three programs. The 2013-2014 LEADS program boasts the largest number of participants to date with over four hundred student-athletes who offer a wide variety of experiences and fantastic enthusiasm.

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In late August, Amherst LEADS welcomed over 60 captains to campus from each of Amherst’s twenty-seven varsity sports for its annual Captains Symposium. The Symposium kicked off with a presentation by Olympic Gold Medalist Aly Raisman of the United States Gymnastics Team. The remainder of the weekend afforded our Captains the opportunity to connect and learn from each other through a series of workshops, small group discussions and team building exercises. To conclude, Pulitzer Prize winning author Tracy Kidder joined our student leaders and led a discussion on his NY Times best-selling book Mountains Beyond Mountains, discussing leadership lessons and characteristics of its main character, Dr. Paul Farmer.

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On September 17th the LEADS Committee welcomed 160 first-year student-athletes to the FYI Program with its opening “Celebrate Amherst” event. This session addressed the goals of the LEADS program, expectations of Amherst student-athletes and offered an overview of the history of Amherst Athletics. Student-athletes also learned more about the four-year LEADS curriculum.

 Later that month, LEADS hosted its first Futures Program event of the semester, which was a terrific success with nearly 190 student-athletes in attendance. This event focused on self-awareness, goal setting, and the importance of authentic leadership. LEADS welcomed Peter Chiarelli, General Manager of the Boston Bruins, as our keynote speaker.  Mr. Chiarelli shared lessons learned throughout his journey from Harvard Ice Hockey teammate to law student and ultimately in his current management role with the Bruins.  Chiarelli stressed the importance of leading by example and establishing trust amongst

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your teammates in order to be truly successful.

The second Captains event of the year entitled “Sharing Leadership Experiences” allowed Captains to share their successes and challenges with fellow teammates to effectually develop a blueprint on how to become a better teammate and team leader.   This event has emerged as a staple session within the Captains Program and is thoroughly enjoyed by all. Following small group conversations, the Captains had the pleasure of being joined by Kenny Gamble, a Colgate University football great and the first-ever Walter Payton Award recipient, an award given to the most outstanding offensive player in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Mr. Gamble currently serves as Vice President and General Manager of Sports Licensing at Adidas. Gamble gave a powerful speech, positing that much of his career success can be attributed to lessons learned during collegiate athletics.  He also spoke to the group about how athletics can serve as a vehicle to achieve more in life and encouraged each student to take full advantage of the resources available to them at Amherst.

Upcoming events for LEADS include a Futures Program event on October 21st, a Captains event on October 28th and an FYI Program on October 29th.

To learn more about Amherst LEADS, please visit: https://www.amherst.edu/athletics/amherst_leads.