Captains Symposium 2019 - Shaping Tomorrow's Leaders

Captains Symposium 2019 - Shaping Tomorrow's Leaders

On Saturday, August 24th, Amherst LEADS kicked off their programming for the 2019-2020 year with the annual Captains Symposium weekend. The three-day event consisted of several guest speakers, active workshops, and both physical and mental challenges for all sixty varsity sport captains. 

Keynote speaker, Brian Scalabrine, kicked off the event Saturday evening with an engaging and relatable spiel on his experience with leadership, adversity, and how to bring out the best in yourself as well as those around you. The former NBA player, and now Boston Celtics Analyst, proved to be personable and encouraged our student-athletes to be true to themselves and open-minded heading into the remaining events of the weekend. He opened it up for Q&A which allowed captains to talk through some reservations they had heading into the year as leaders, not only on their teams, but on campus as well. Scalabrine did a fantastic job identifying lessons he’s learned throughout his time in athletics and adapting his words of wisdom to best suit their experience here at Amherst College. 

In an effort to have captains from different sports interacting throughout the weekend, captains were randomly assigned to their platoons. These platoons were divided up by color, which would be the color pinnie they would wear for their trip to the on Sunday. After Scalabrine wrapped up, each platoon was given $100 to grocery shop for the Iron Chef competition that would take place at EMPOWER the following evening.

Sunday was off to an early start with two busloads of energetic captains heading down to Middletown, CT at 7:45am for an incredible experience at the EMPOWER Leadership Sports and Adventure Center. Upon arrival, we were met with beautiful weather and an enthusiastic staff who had an exciting day laid out for us. The captains participated in an assortment of activities that challenged both their mental and physical strength. Teamwork was at the forefront of each segment throughout the day; each platoon discovered the strengths and weaknesses of each team member and adjusted accordingly to utilize the very best of each individual.

As the day went on, the captains kept their spirits high and maintained their competitive edge especially heading into the evening’s Iron Chef Challenge. Each platoon was tasked with starting a fire in the woods, then once they’re fire was up and burning, then began the competitive cooking. The EMPOWER staff served as judges, presented with an appetizer and main course from each platoon to taste. While they all made an effort to create top notch cuisine, there could only be one winner and that would be the platoon with the best presentation and food quality. The meals ranged from sweet and savory breakfast kebabs, to beautifully prepared tacos with a personal touch - lettuce from a local captain’s family farm!

With an 18-hour day under their belts, the captains finished up in high spirits and brought the same positive energy the following morning. On Monday, we had two brilliant guest speakers, to start off the day we had Mindfulness Educator, Researcher, & Consultant, Shalini Bahl. She went in depth on how our awareness can change how we navigate our thoughts and daily interactions. The captains collectively participated in a few mindfulness exercises, Shalini guided them through them step by step and offered resources to practice on their own. After lunch we had our second speaker of the day, Dr. Tiff Jones, Owner & President of X-Factor Performance Consulting, and Mental Performance Consultant. She led a very energetic session covering the DISC assessment as it relates to their athletic experience, along with the science behind their Mentality Zones. This workshop with Dr. Tiff Jones provided perspective on how they interact with their peers at Amherst and how to bring out the best in others, as well as themselves.


Our captains kicked off the 2019-2020 school year with high energy and demonstrated a strong commitment to excellence. We’re looking forward to the rest of our LEADS events throughout the year!



Welcome Event in Stirn Auditorium @ 8:00pm - First Year Initiative Event

Society of Civil Discourse Workshop in Friedman @ 8:00pm - Combined Futures Event