I recently did something that would have surprised my 4/c self, I jumped at the opportunity to spend an entire week back at the Coast Guard Academy. Why, you ask? Eclipse Week. Every year the Academy hosts an entire week of events aimed at inclusion and diversity and every year cadets are exposed to various topics, discussions, people and, in short, a world they may have never previously seen or known. In reality, cadets are not the only members invited to attend the festivities; Eclipse Week is open to faculty, staff, and officers from all over. I spent the week reconnecting with former cadets and friends as well as instructors and staff who have become friends. Of course, I also spent my time participating in events, while they are all special and important in their own right, three in particular stand out: the opening and closing keynote addresses (I’ll count them as one), the Take Back the Night Event, and…the Academy-wide talent show. As a cadet, I attended these events every year for four years, but as a returning officer, I had a unique perspective as essentially an outsider looking in. The key here is that I was once on the inside just a few years ago and I now had the ability to compare the differences a short time has made. The keynote addresses drew our attention to the significance and also the beauty of keeping an open mind in terms of how we treat others and consider their backgrounds. The value a person receives from taking the time to learn about someone, to help someone, to really work with someone is immeasurable. To be honest, the Take Back the Night Event shocked me. I walked in silence and solidarity with 250 cadets, officers, civilians, and friends to learn about and really reflect on sexual assault in the military. Finally, to end the discussion of my events on a lighter note, I will mention the talent show. The amount of talent possessed by the current corps of cadets and their instructors who performed is simply put: OUTSTANDING. The talent show exceeded expectation.
Each event of Eclipse Week is memorable, special, and vital in developing a cohesive workforce. Unfortunately, I fear some readers have dozed off and will begin snoring. I was fortunate to have attended 2017’s Eclipse Week and will carry the lessons I learned with me to my unit.
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