The Heroes and Horses Leadership Course
If you've been following along with us over the years, you know that we are always making improvements and modifications to our program, to ensure that we are remaining innovative and effective - this year was no exception. With the help of our new COO, Rick Franco, Heroes and Horses implemented a new leadership course as part of the daily curriculum. Here is a Q&A with Rick about this program:
Q: Where did the idea for the leadership course come from?
A: The whole Heroes and Horses program truly takes a 360 approach to addressing the physical and mental scars that the participants are dealing with - it's mind, body, and soul. We felt that creating a course like this would effectively address the "'mind" part of this process. We chose to focus on leadership because, at the fundamental level, so much of what we are teaching is about self-leadership. "If a man were to have a great kingdom, learn to rule one's self". I believe this quote to be universally true, and that is why it is so relevant to the program. We are teaching these men to think differently and to choose to lead themselves.
Q: What does the leadership course entail?
A: The course begins before the guys even get to camp. When an individual is selected to attend the program, they are sent two books to read prior to the first day of class. Then, once in camp, we spend (at least) 30 minutes each night discussing different philosophies discussed in those books, and how those philosophies apply to each of the students. The discussions often go deep, and it gives our students a designated time and space for true reflection.
Q: What books do you have the veterans read prior to camp starting? Why do you have them read those particular books?
A: The Obstacle is the Way (by Ryan Holiday) and Legacy (by James Kerr). These books are impactful because of the philosophies that they teach - particularly The Obstacle is the Way. That book portrays the quintessential stoic teachings of Marcus Aurelius, regarded by modern-day philosophers as "one of the greats". The messages in these books, if absorbed, do make a difference.
Q: What is the goal of the leadership course?
A: The goal is to expose these men to a new way of thinking about their lives and the challenges they face, and to allow them to discover that they can shift from viewing challenges as a hindrance to viewing challenges as opportunities. The course helps the guys peel back the layers to their original thoughts, and thus making decisions for themselves, not based off of other's opinions or perceptions. It is also a platform for the guys to open up to each other and to learn a little bit more about themselves and their teammates.