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My Experience as a SHARE Team Leader

By Cadet Corporal Brian Bilbo, Sophomore, Band Company

Today was my first experience going to a school with a group from The Citadel as a volunteer. Last year for Leadership Day, I volunteered for the Engineering Department and did my community service on campus, explaining how radio frequencies worked to elementary school children who were here. This morning, I was pretty nervous about leading a group of freshmen cadets into classrooms and teaching lessons to elementary children about heroes. By not having the experience of seeing a sophomore leading these discussions last year, I wasn't quite sure what to expect.

At 7:45a.m., I met with my fellow team leaders, Harris Pharr of Delta Company and Kristen Kessinger of November Company, as well as Officer Candidate Haydon, in order to round up our group of freshmen from Echo Company who would be assisting us.

After we lined up our freshmen and prepared for our day, we instructed them to relax and enjoy the day ahead of us. Well, telling a knob to relax is like telling a loud dog to stop barking. We wanted to get to know our freshmen because their roles were a key to our success on Leadership Day. After a couple of minutes of social time with them, the bus pulled up and we departed promptly.

We traveled to Jane Edwards Elementary School which is located in Edisto Island, SC. It was quite a drive, and by the time we got to the school, the freshmen cadets had made themselves comfortable and enjoyed short naps. Upon arrival, everyone pepped up and adjusted their uniforms to look perfect before entering the school.

We were welcomed by four great groups of children. The first group we visited was the Pre-K and kindergarten students. After discussing with them the definition of a hero, most of them decided that their parents were their heroes. We then had the cadets spread out and help the children draw pictures for their hero.

The next students were in first and second grade. This was the most energetic group of students and they were all excited to draw pictures. A lot of these children decided to draw pictures for firemen, policemen, soldiers, doctors, and teachers, as well as their parents. Finally, we worked with children in the third through sixth grades. Because they were older they were better at discussing what being a hero meant. They shared various characteristics of heroes before drawing pictures and writing letters to their heroes.

My favorite part of the day was seeing how the freshmen cadets interacted with these children while having fun. Seeing a smile on a knob's face is a rare occurrence on campus because their first year is so intense. Seeing them smile while helping out elementary school students was inspiring. The sophomores were not the only leaders to walk into the classrooms. It was a good experience for the freshmen to step outside their comfort zone and fill the leadership role that was placed in front of them.

The children with whom we visited and interacted looked up to the cadets as role models and heroes. The smiles on their faces were priceless and the children weren’t the only ones who had fun. It was such a great experience being able to lead a group like this. I am honored and blessed to have had the opportunity to participate in another successful Citadel Leadership Day.