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, transforming classroom theories into real-life leadership opportunities. ELD aims to prepare midshipmen to excel in leadership positions and learn through practice as well as reflection. Some program highlights from the most recent academic year include:

•  Class of ’77 Gettysburg Leadership Encounter – Two trips to the Gettysburg Battlefield occur each year in June and December. This annual retreat allows midshipmen to study leadership principles, network, and improve team building through peer support, while gaining important historical context and attending classes on leadership, loyalty, standards and action.
•  Outward Bound Spring and Summer Expeditions – Twice a year, midshipmen have the opportunity to participate in outdoor expeditions alongside veterans, where they practice real-world decision making in unpredictable wilderness environments. In March 2019, the midshipmen and veterans spent five days hiking the Appalachian Trail (Harpers Ferry area), and in Summer 2019 midshipmen joined a two-week, small-unit leadership expedition that tested their teamwork and leadership skills in the wilderness.
•  Vietnam LREC – In July and August 2019, Colonel Maria “MJ” Pallotta '94, USMC, and Captain Marko Stawnyczyj, USMC, took eight midshipmen to Vietnam for 16 days of cultural immersion and battlefield study. As the first combined IPO–ELD LREC trip, this experience provided select midshipmen an opportunity to interact with Vietnamese culture and study the history of U.S. diplomatic and military involvement before, during and after the Vietnam War.

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 its programs and engage midshipmen in a rich variety of experiences, strengthening their leadership skills and shaping them into the dedicated officers they will become.