National Character & Leadership Symposium (Nat’l Cadet Special Activity)

Product Information

Date(s) - 02/25/2016 - 02/26/2016
All Day

US Air Force Academy


Link for information & registration: National Character & Leadership Symposium


February 25, 2016 – February 26, 2016
US Air Force Academy, CO
Min. Age:


Why is the character of today’s youth vital for America? The U.S. Air Force Academy’s National Character and Leadership Symposium, brings together distinguished scholars, military officers, corporate executives and other leaders to consider that important question. Through NCLS’s seminars and discussions, cadets will enhance their own understanding of how moral character is an inseparable component of leadership.
What to expect:
Civil Air Patrol will provide transportation to and from Colorado Springs at no cost to the CAP participants. The US Air Force Academy will provide ground transportation to and from the Colorado Springs Airport.
NCLS/CAP participants will be hosted by a USAFA cadet for the duration of the symposium and housed in the Air Force Academy Cadet Dormitories. The two Academy dorms, Vandenberg and Sijan Hall, are co-ed dorms with shower facilities on each hall. Participants eat meals with USAFA cadets in Mitchell Hall or your USAFA host’s recommendation. During the symposium hours, your USAFA host will escort you to main speaking events as well as the seminars that you select. Twice each day of the symposium, the Civil Air Patrol contingent will meet. In the morning we will review everyone’s plan for the day and in the evening we will review the days events. NCLS/CAP participants are expected to take extensive notes of all of the days events in an effort to offer feedback and personal insights at the evening meetings. NCLS/CAP participants should expect to put in long hours and provide the group with extensive information. A final 4 page paper is due at the conclusion of NCLS.
Previous Speakers have included:
Tony Mendez – The “Face behind Argo”, CIA Agent in the Iran Hostage Rescue
MSgt William “Spanky” Gibson – First Above-the-Knee Amputee to Return to Operation Iraqi Freedom
SSgt Salvatore Giunta, United States Army – Medal of Honor Recipient
Chad Hennings – Former Air Force Officer, Dallas Cowboys Defensive Tackle
Tom Enders – CEO, Airbus
Derrick Hall – President & CEO, Arizona Diamondbacks
Greg Hall – CEO, Chilean Miner rescue designer
Ross Perot – Businessman, Public Servant
Sherron Watkins – Former Vice President, Enron Corporation, “Person of the Year 2002” by Time
Lopez Lomong – United States Track & Field Olympian
Maximilian Lerner – WW II United States Army Intelligence Officer, Survivor of the Nazi Occupation
Dennis Muilenburg – President and CEO, Boeing Defense, Space and Security
Colonel Leo Thorsness, USAF (ret) – Medal of Honor Recipient, Prisoner of War
CMDR Scott Waddle, US Navy (ret)- Former Commander, USS Greenville
On the fateful day of February 9, 2001, Commander Waddle’s life was forever changed when he gave the order to perform an emergency surface maneuver that inadvertently caused the nine-thousand ton submarine to collide with the Ehime Maru, a 500 ton Japanese fishing vessel, killing nine people on board. Against the advice of his attorney and the Navy’s direction, he took responsibility for the accident. In October of 2001 he was honorably discharged from the Navy and retired from active duty as a commander. Commander Waddle is an author and inspirational speaker.
Dick Hoyt – President, Team Hoyt Retired Lt. Col. Dick Hoyt and his son Rick, a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, have traveled the world competing in more than 1,000 triathlons and marathons in the past 30 years. In 2003, Aron Ralston’s extraordinary human drama grabbed headlines around the world. An experienced climber and avid outdoors-man, Ralston was descending a remote Utah canyon alone when an 800-pound boulder broke loose, crushing his right hand and pinning him against the canyon wall. After nearly five days — without water and with no hope of escape — Ralston made a life-or-death decision. He chose life by severing his arm below the elbow, rappelling a 65-foot cliff out of the canyon, and trekking seven miles to find his would-be rescuers.

Be at least 18 years old by 31 Dec 15
Be enrolled as a full time college student
Possess the Earhart Award at time of application
COS, CLA, or IACE graduates preferred
ACTIVITY FEE: About $50 for meals
 (payable to USAFA)

The Activity Director will provide the cadets with reading assignments ahead of the activity and the cadets will turn in a project after the event is over in order to receive credit.


Use the NCSA Main Menu module of eServices to apply for this activity. Applications will be accepted from 13 October until 30 November. Applicants will need to upload the following documents in PDF format by 30 November:

1.  A resume of your achievement in CAP, school, and community service (1 page only)
2.  A Letter of Recommendation from a teacher or leader (other than a parent)
(You will have a phone interview with the Activity Director after you apply.)
Final selections will be announced by 20 December.


Quotes from 2014 students:

The biggest and most important thing I did at NCLS was asking myself “Why does this matter to me?” during each lecture. By applying the lectures, lessons, and stories to myself and my circumstances, I was able to learn a lot more than I would have otherwise and the lessons were engraved in my mind. C/Col Miranda Ellinghaus
NCLS provided a venue to hear from speakers that not only challenge, but inspire the listener to do great things. Each speaker’s personal experience always came back to one thing: it is a great thing to be an American.  C/Col Sierra D Parsons
“NCLS was incredible, and I would encourage everyone going to make yourself open to every opportunity. Experience academy life, learn from your hosts as much as you learn the speakers, and never hesitate to talk to the people giving the seminars in the hallway if you see them!” – C/Maj Ariana Ahadi