Why Give?

Center for Experiential Leadership Development

The Center for Experiential Leadership Development (ELD) combines the Leadership, Education and Development (LEAD) Division’s curricular programs with the USNA’s experiential leader programs. ELD transforms classroom theories into real-life leadership opportunities and prepares midshipmen to excel in leadership positions through practice and reflection.

Although many of the spring programs had to be postponed or re-imagined, the following events were highlights from the 2019-2020 academic year:

•  Outward Bound Spring Break Hike: The Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound School (CBOBS) offers a field-based leadership practicum that challenges midshipmen by living as a group in a wilderness setting. During Spring Break 2020, 18 midshipmen participated in a five-day hike along the Appalachian Trail with 18 veterans. They completed the one-on-one mentoring expedition just as COVID-19 began spreading in the United States. This was a transformative learning experience where students developed new technical skills as well as self-confidence.
•  Gettysburg Leadership Encounter (GLE): The Class of ’77 Gettysburg Leadership Encounter occurred over one day in December 2019 and one day in August 2020 at the battlefield and at USNA. Team captains and Brigade leadership learned about the responsibilities and challenges of command through lessons from the Civil War battle. Midshipman leaders attended classes and break-out discussion sessions covering the leadership tenets of loyalty standards and action.
•  The Network (Formerly NAWN): The Network empowers and equips midshipmen to navigate careers as leaders through increased opportunities for engagement, education and experiences with women officers and graduates. The Network cultivates an inclusive and diverse mentoring system of women and men from USNA, the fleet and the Operating Forces. The Network typically involves 400-500 midshipmen annually and provides Lean-in Circle opportunities, as well as four networking events throughout the year to foster mentoring and future retention of women service members.

These programs are just a few of the many opportunities offered by the Center for Experiential Leadership Development. Ongoing funding makes it possible for ELD to continue to expand and engage midshipmen in a rich variety of experiences, strengthening their leadership skills and shaping them into the dedicated officers they will become.

For the complete narrative, please review the 2019-2020 Experiential Leadership Development Stewardship Report