Experience is worth more than gold

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- The Leadership Pathway’s program here has awarded its first Gold certificate to a member of the Team Offutt community.

Senior Airman Alex Fausnight, 338th Combat Training Squadron, took full advantage of the program and received his gold certificate for attending 23 courses in the Leadership Pathways Course Catalog.

“I have to admit, all the classes I took were outstanding,” said Fausnight.

Leadership Pathways is an Air Force program that Air Combat Command has adopted to help support the Comprehensive Airmen Fitness strategy. Helping agencies across the installation will offer classes that focus on social, physical, spiritual or mental fitness. Many of the courses offered are ones you've seen before on base wingman days or throughout the year, but now they are part of LP.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the John Maxwell classes that the Top 3 organization put on,” Fausnight said. “In my opinion they are the most important classes in the catalog for developing you into an excellent leader.” 

One of the topics discussed by John Maxwell is that “Leadership is Influence” and if you can understand what he means by that, then you can see how leadership is not just important for people holding supervisory positions, but also for the follower to develop and improve so that they can influence, or lead, their peers to success along with them, he added.

“There are 42 classes loaded in the system with more being added monthly,” said Master Sgt. Michael Sequin, 55th Wing Community Support NCO in charge. Currently, there are 19 courses that are considered to be core courses and only certain core classes will be required at different levels to receive the certificate.”

“[Fausnight] is the only one to reach the 23 course plateau,” Sequin added. “In fact, he is currently only three courses away from the Platinum Certificate.”

There are four different recognition levels:

Bronze, you will receive this certificate for completing eight courses. You will be presented your certificate by your flight commander and superintendent at your work center.

Silver, you need to complete 16 courses for this certificate. You will be presented your certificate by the squadron commander and Chief at a squadron commander’s call.

Gold, as mentioned above you will need to complete 23 courses for the certificate. You will receive your certificate from your group commander and chief at a group staff meeting.

The platinum certificate will require 30 courses total. You will receive the certificate and be coined by the wing commander along with the command chief in a wing staff meeting. 

“You will never hear anyone say they need more [Sexual Assault Prevention and Response] classes but through the course of my Leadership Pathways journey, I realized the only way to improve the current situation or trend of sexual assaults is through education like that provided through the SAPR office,” Fausnight said.

Courses are now getting even easier to find. The community support coordinator’s office is working with 55th Wing Public Affairs to have the available classes listed on their Facebook calendar and on the Offutt MyMC2 (My Military Communities 2) smartphone app.

“The classes from the Airman and Family Readiness Center are very educational,” Fausnight said. “While some people may not be interested in classes about finances or how to buy a house, those things are all very relevant because the reality of life is that you will have to deal with stuff like that at some point if not already.” 

The intended result of Leadership Pathways and the CAF program is strengthening force resilience, helping our Airmen and family members become better-equipped to deal with the rigors of military life. 

“All the information regarding courses available, course descriptions as well as the link to sign up can be found on the Offutt Leadership Pathways Website,” Sequin said.  “It is nearly a turnkey system and registration only takes about 5 minutes."

Classes can be backdated as far back as Oct. 1, 2015 for credit toward the program.

“During leadership courses I learned many things but one comment really stuck out for me - ‘experience is incredibly expensive,’” Fausnight said.  “Experience only happens over time, and we all know that’s a limited resource. But experience isn’t just paid for with time, it costs much more than that; hard work, effort, maybe a reduced lunch break, pain, suffering, sweat, tears.” 

“I don’t know who said it first, but I say it to you now because I know it to be true,” he added. “I hope to exercise some ‘upward leadership’ and influence those with the experience to share, to come out to a few classes and see if they can’t help alleviate a burden or two.”

From leadership and financial classes to how to help raise children, LP classes are designed to assist everyone in the Offutt community become better at living life in general.

“I can’t remember who shared the Charles Dickens quote during one of the John Maxwell sessions but it caused me to reflect and sparked change within me,” he added.

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” Charles Dickens