By Crystal Allen
Leader’s Training Course
As Lilibel Sanchez walked up the steps of the obstacle course at the Leader’s Training Course, she was terrified. As she climbed the 40-foot-tall obstacle, her body shook and her fear of heights was getting the best of her.
She became more and more nervous as her heart beat faster and faster.
“When they told me to look down and say, ‘I’m ready,’ I was trembling,” said Sanchez, a Golf Company Cadet and junior at State University of New York at Brockport. “After I did the first one, it was like an ice breaker. I wanted to do it again.”
At LTC, each Cadet goes through the obstacle course consisting of challenges like ladders standing 40 feet high, rope climbing and wall rappelling. The course, with more than a half-dozen obstacles, is designed to build Cadets’ confidence and build their leadership skills by putting them in a moment of pressure.
“It’s to help develop confidence and fight their fears,” Staff Sgt. Ricardo Sanabria, a drill sergeant with Golf Company. “It comes down to personal courage and leadership.”
Although he’s not scared of heights, like most Cadets, Golf Company’s Ben Reinhart was most scared of the course when he was walking up to it and saw the height of some obstacles.
“One of the largest ones is the first thing you see,” Reinhart said.
Sanabria saw many Cadets like Sanchez, scared and shaking, dreading the next obstacle.
“Once they are up, they tend to look down and then they are scared,” he said.
However, in the face of fear, Cadets learn valuable lessons they will use outside of LTC. The Cadets learn to never quit.
“You have to go through the obstacle no matter what it is,” Reinhart, a senior at the University of Illinois said.
Most Cadets have never seen and certainly have not completed a course like the one at LTC. Reinhart was proud of himself, being on a post where other leaders have endured similar challenges.
“I feel more determined,” Sanchez said. “I did that, I feel like I could do anything.”