Odyssey Leadership Program Successfully Graduates 27 Student-Athletes

Odyssey Leadership Program Successfully Graduates 27 Student-Athletes

Mount Olive, N.C. --- The University of Mount Olive Odyssey Leadership program successfully graduated 27 student-athletes following the conclusion of the 2017-18 academic and athletic year. The purpose of the Odyssey program is to help potential leaders develop a wide array of skills including self-awareness, confidence, and leadership strategies.

Throughout the 2017-18 school year, student-athletes completed various events to grow and expand their leadership skills and capabilities. Those events included the annual DiSC Assesment, a Hunger games team building exercise, a ropes course at NC State, giving presentations on personal energy, and wrapping up the year was a personal branding presentation given by David Heller, men's volleyball head coach and director of the Odyssey Program.

The new Odyssey recruits kicked off the year with their DiSC Assessment, facilitated by Dr. Cricket Lane. DiSC is an assessment tool which examines four styles of human behavior:  Dominance (D), Influence (i), Steadiness (S), and Conscientiousness (C). Various personality assessments were used to help better understand what tasks each student-athlete would be best to complete when addressing leadership and team roles in September. The DiSC assessment helped the students to better understand personality traits of teammates and coaching staffs, to better communicate with both. It also helped with how to work most efficiently with other personality types.

In October the group competed in a Hunger Games Team Building Challenge consisting of various team activities ranging from a scavenger hunt in the arena to building a lego tower without talking. This event found each student-athlete working with members of sports teams other than their own, to accomplish 10 different tasks. Blindfolded paper airplane throwing contests and name that tune were other highlights of the event.

The UMO student-athletes went to tackle the NC State Ropes Course Ropes in November that challenged fears and allowed teammates to build trust in each other.  It started with ground activities before taking off into the ropes course with several different levels of difficulty. Everyone made it up into the course and was supported by their classmates. 

Joel Roberts, a member of the Odyssey Class of 2017, gave a Personal Energy Audit presentation in January that recapped information that was shared at the fall Conference Carolinas Retreat held in High Point, N.C. Several different topics were covered at the conference meeting, but Joel presented on personal energy management and how to best deal with conflict and stress.

Wrapping up the 2017-18 year was a presentation by Coach Heller on personal branding. The final session, held in March, dealt with the student-athletes understanding their personal brand better. They covered how to best present themselves on social media, in job interviews, and within the learning environment. The student-athletes discussed ways they can better represent the University of Mount Olive athletics across campus, in the community, within the conference, and in competition.

"I am really proud of this year's graduates," said Coach Heller. "They really took the name Odyssey to heart and completed this portion of their journey through college athletics. So many of them were eager to learn and active in participating right away to help better their team communication. They felt comfortable with each other to give compliments and constructive criticisms to present the best leadership styles that they could. It's amazing to see the personal growth that the students go through from learning about their personality and leadership style to actually see them fine-tune and apply it in real life scenarios that come up within their teams. They are a solid group moving forward that will help develop team chemistry quickly with new team members and continuing to straighten it with returning members to their respective teams."

The Odyssey Leadership program started in 2011. The purpose of the program is to help potential leaders develop a wide array of skills including self-awareness, confidence, and leadership strategies.

2017-18 UMO Odyssey Graduates
Fabiana Alcala - Women's Soccer
Johanna Andersson - Women's Golf
Brittany Barnett - Women's Volleyball
Martin Bayles - Men's Track & Field
Skye Bradley - Women's Lacrosse
Kiara Burke - Women's Lacrosse
Cyerra Carter - Women's Volleyball
Brady Deaner - Men's Cross Country/Track & Field
Chris Douglas - Baseball
Callie Farrell - Softball
Vivian Fernandez - Women's Soccer
MacLayne Gairrett - Men's Soccer
Hannah Glover - Women's Track & Field
Hailey LeMaire - Cheerleading
Taylor Moncreif - Women's Track & Field
Makayla Nichols - Women's Basketball
Jesiah Orr - Men's Volleyball
Gunnar Parsons - Men's Lacrosse
Adam Podkonicky - Men's Golf
Kelly Post - Women's Basketball
Joel Roberts - Men's Volleyball
Cam Robinson - Men's Basketball
Patrick Schweitz - Men's Golf
Holly Smith - Cheerleading
Junior Snow - Baseball
Charlene Thompson - Softball
Shane Yeo - Men's Volleyball