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Camp Dodge LRC

Student associates and instructor, Andy Briggs, take on a water feature obstacle at the Camp Dodge LRC.

Waukee APEX student associates recently traveled to Camp Dodge in Johnston to participate in the Leadership Reaction Course. The purpose of the event was for participants in the course to strengthen team building and critical thinking skills, both of which are sought after skills in today’s workplace.

There were several different obstacle courses that student associates were asked to participate in. In one scenario, teams were given specific instructions not to speak with one another to simulate a scenario where they all spoke different languages. Without talking, they then had to figure out the best way to get each group member over a fence without actually touching it. “Eliminating the luxury of talking to one another has the potential to teach people so many lessons,” said Anna Jordal, Waukee APEX Business and Education Event Manager. “They learn how to work together through non-verbal communication and body language. In addition, it really illustrates the importance of good communication skills, as you are desperately wishing that you could speak to your teammates.”

In many other scenarios, student associates were tasked with getting a container full of supplies from point A to point B with only a few boards in a course built over water. Student associates found that the pressure to complete a task was elevated when you add in a water component, meaning if you fail in the task, you get soaked. Alexis Nobusch, APEX associate expressed, “I thought it was a great way to build team bonding and work together to overcome hard objects and obstacles.”

Andrew Peelan, APEX medical research student associate explained, “I learned simple leadership skills, how to direct my fellow associates in a positive way, and how to nonverbally communicate effectively.  Additionally, I learned how to work together and provide positive encouragement to members of a team that are struggling in order to lift them up for success. We all bring different strengths to a team, and when we all work together we ensure that we can overcome any obstacle as one. APEX does something crazy because it has a way of bringing us together.”

This was the second time that APEX associates traveled to Camp Dodge. Both events were planned with the help of Sergeant Zach Brooks. “One of my favorite things is being able to host events on Camp Dodge and share the National Guard Story with other Iowans,” said Brooks. “I’ve personally helped thousands of high school students through our Leadership Reaction Course; a series of 12 obstacles designed to test and develop young warriors. Each station is unique and comes with a new set of challenges.”

We recognize that the ability to successfully lead, motivate and problem solve are heavily sought after skills in today’s professional environment, and opportunities like this help our student associates work to strengthen those skills. Sergeant Brooks stated that “The culture that the faculty and staff at Waukee APEX have been able to create is top-notch. The Waukee Innovation and Learning Center perfectly equips its students with the right tools and mindset for their journey into the professional world.”

We are grateful for the support the Army National Guard provides not only for exciting events like the LRC course, but also project ideas, college and career exploration opportunities, and so much more.  Thank you to Sergeant Brooks and his team for an exceptional learning opportunity.  View photos from the event on our Facebook album.