May 18, 2024

UMW Athletics Welcomes Back Student Athletes with Annual Leadership Academy

The University of Mary Washington athletic department opened the 2017-18 year by inviting representatives of every varsity and club team back to campus to complete the department’s annual Leadership Academy. The three-day event promotes leadership among team leaders, and promotes bonding among the teams through a shared training.

The participants, using a shared reading of the book Great Teams by Don Yaeger, shared their interpretations of the text, explaining their “Why,” and went through team-building exercises based on the book.

The groups then aided in the development of a department-wide initiative called “The Eagle Way,” examining passion, grit, commitment, and integrity. The groups traveled to Challenge Discovery in Richmond for a physical challenge, and completed the academy with the annual river crossing of the Rappahannock by using the teamwork traits they developed.​ The Academy also completed a service project together, assembling nearly 1,500 back-to-school gifts for Smart Beginnings to distribute to local children entering kindergarten.

“Forty-one of our athletes came into the three-day Academy with little knowledge of the itinerary, moreover the other athletes, yet we challenged them to engage and learn from one another and push themselves outside of their comfort zones,” said UMW Director of Athletic Development Philip Pierce, who directed the event. “We have no doubt that each participant gained the tools and the confidence to be leaders of their peers and make a real difference in the culture of their programs.”