The students at Elite Training Center in Redondo never fail to impress me. Although no one knew exactly what was in store for him or her at survival camp, each and every person was aware that they would be taken far outside their comfort zone. Most people spend their lives doing their best to remain comfortable and secure, but it’s only when we push ourselves and challenge ourselves that we truly grow and experience life. Every student who participated in camp grew as individuals and as teams. They learned skills for survival and they learned skills for success in life. It’s awesome to see people have success applying lessons they just learned, and it’s always inspiring to watch individuals grouped together become a team.
My team proved that the greater the challenge, the greater the triumph. As a very diverse group of individuals, they had more challenges to overcome than most to unite as a team, and the lessons learned were true achievements. Most of all, they learned the meaning of the SEAL saying, “Ready to lead, ready to follow, never quit…” As individuals they stepped up when necessary, stepped back when appropriate, and above all they learned to never quit, and this is what enabled them to become a team. Initial struggles with some of the skills taught at camp, especially land navigation, fire, and shelter, left them all frustrated and discouraged. But while they may not have succeeded in the first attempt or even the second, eventually they learned from their setbacks and came back stronger in the final exercise, performing all three of their weakest events in rapid and spectacular fashion, and even outperforming many of the other teams at certain stations. Additionally, we had some real life situations where lessons such as navigation and basic first aid had to be applied, and they did exactly what they were taught to do when it truly mattered. Their perseverance and willingness to learn was inspiring and ultimately made them successful, and as their facilitator I couldn’t be more proud of them and their performance.
On a personal level, this camp was a tremendous learning experience for me; I’m grateful to my team of students and to my team of instructors, but mostly I’m grateful to the school for continually providing me with opportunities to grow as a teacher and as a leader, and for always challenging me to develop into a better person.