Story by Sgt Brandon Thomas on 08/02/2014COLTS NECK, N.J. - Recruiting Station New Jersey hosted an Enhanced Leadership Seminar meant to impart Marine Corps leadership principles, discipline and camaraderie to members of the Cedar Creek High School football team at Naval Weapons Station Earle, August 1.
Cedar Creek players started the leadership seminar by warming up with their Marine mentors. Following the warm up, the high school students, ranging from sophomores to seniors, pushed themselves through a five-mile hike while wearing 50-pound packs, marching along to the sounds of Marine Corps cadence.
"We have a great relationship with Recruiting Station New Jersey," said Tim Watson, head coach of Cedar Creek High School football team. "Capt. Smith came up to the high school last year and worked the kids out. We talked about us actually coming up here (Naval Weapons Station Earle). We love the values of the Marine Corps, and anything we can do to instill leadership into these young men we do it. So we're glad to have the opportunity to be here and to see our kids get a little taste of what the Marines are like."
The Marine Corps is an organization that treasures leadership above all else and takes every opportunity in sharing their leadership philosophy with America's youth.
"Every summer, Recruiting Station New Jersey does what we call the Leadership Seminar program," said Capt. Zachary Smith, executive officer of RSNJ. "We invited them up to our base because this is the third summer in a row they've done a leadership seminar with us. We wanted to take them out of their element a little bit, bring out the element of surprise, bring them up to base and do something different."
"We're out here as a team trying to get better with the Marine Corps," said Ahmir Mitchel, a member of the Cedar Creek football team. "I'm looking forward to bonding with my brothers, pushing those who fall behind and coming together as a unit."
The athletes separated into separate teams to compete in an obstacle course consisting of running, tire flipping, log hauling, ammo can lifts, squats, carries, squad pushups, squad crunches and more running.
"It's a lot of hard work," said Chris Lynch. "I didn't expect it to be this difficult. They said we were going to work and I expected that, but this was definitely more than I expected."
When the team competition finished, the students received a class on leadership, why it's important and how it will see them through to success.
"This is our first Enhanced Leadership Seminar," said Maj. John Campbell, commanding officer of RSNJ. "Normally we go to them. This is the first group that's had the opportunity to come to Naval Weapons Station Earle. Hopefully they'll think back years from now on what they learned from the Marine Corps. We're giving these students a bit of our leadership traits and principles so that they can be better citizens."
The efforts of the Marines in putting together this seminar were not lost on the athletes.
"It's very motivating seeing our team working together as a unit and seeing the Marines in front leading us," said Avory Cruse, a member of the Cedar Creek football team.