The Leadership Center
Business Office
2211 Q Street, Aurora, NE 68818
Espressions: Coffee & Community
1117 M Street, Aurora, NE 68818
Phone 402-694-3214

An Idea that Became a Reality

Back in 2015, Jessica Brondel reached out to me to ask if I would consider being a presenter at the first Northwest High School Career & College Fair. Of course, the answer was a resounding yes! 

Early on the morning of November 23, 2015, Micheala and I loaded up the car with materials for a promotional booth, all of my workshop materials and ensured we’d have enough time to load up on Starbucks! 

After getting the booth set up, I set off to find the classroom I would be presenting in. I was in a Mr. Kevin Stein’s room. After some adjustments to the setup, handling a few tech issues, I shot a selfie and was ready to present several 1/2-hour workshops on preparing for the future. 

As with any first-time event, students could be a bit squirmy. There was a little confusion about attendance and where everyone was supposed to be. But honestly, things ran pretty smoothly. For the most part, the students I interacted with were engaged, participatory, and present. As a presenter, you can’t ask for much more! 

In the actual workshop, I took the students through a workbook I created to guide them through setting goals, making timelines and determining the things that really mattered to them. We also showed them just how important each of them was to the communities they were a part of. That each of them made a difference. It’s a lot to put into less than 30 minutes, but when it was all said and done, each student left with a book they wrote with the plan for their future. 

In between sessions and during a break, I had the pleasure of chatting with Mr. Stein, or rather, Coach, as the students called him. If you haven’t met this man, you should. In my brief time with him, I learned he was so passionate about his students and his players. He dearly wanted kids to leave GINW better people. Beyond his dedication, he was energetic and driven by some really big goals. 

One question he asked me was “Do you ever work with athletic teams?” 

My answer? “Yes, I work with teams. How can I help?” 

He went on to tell me about his vision for his football teams. How he had read some great books including Jocko Willink & Leif Babin, “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead & Win.” Overall, his desire was to grow young men into leaders who happen to play football. 

I asked, “When do we start?” 

He said, “Maile, we are good. When it’s time to be great, I will call you.” 

In 2017, on a hot afternoon in May, I was driving to my son’s field day and my phone rang. It was Coach Stein and it was time. 

In the last 3 years, we have taken the GINW Vikings Football team Boat Crew Leaders (BCLs) through a yearlong, intensive leadership training under our D4LC: MAPS program. The BCLs are the 8 football captains. They are responsible for the own crew made up of 10 to 18 football players (grades 9-12). 

We work with the BCL’s on: 

  • community 
  • culture 
  • communication 
  • crew/personal leadership 
  • mindset 

and the individual thing the coaches ask for assistance with. 

BCL’s captains attend a two-day retreat at The Leadership Center. It’s intense and lays the groundwork for the year they want to see. We also meet with the coaches prior to the retreat to see what their expectations are. After retreat, there are weekly/daily snap lessons. We attend 2 practices a week, along with home games. We review footage weekly of the team and opponents. We do BCL and one-on-one check ins. During the season, the BCL’s also receive custom videos focused on one topic each Sunday. 

Covid-19 added an extra layer of challenge for training. Since in person meeting had to be delayed, the 2020 BCL’s had weekly Zoom calls that lasted about an hour starting in March and went through the beginning of in person practice. 

These young men complete weekly challenges, weekly crew calls, check ins and such while completing the school work, participating in practice and an assortment of other activities. 

While the intensity of the GINW Vikings BCL MAPS training has grown in depth, width, and intensity, the scope has stayed the same, “raise up young men to be leaders who happen to play football.” 

We’re partway into year three of this program with the Vikings. I think it is safe to say, my partner in crime, Kurt and I have learned just as much as we have facilitated or taught. 

Have we been successful? 

Yes. Though the Vikings haven’t seen a state title YET, they have made it father than they have in years in the playoffs. They have had fewer academic issues during the season. We are seeing kids want to be a part of the community just to belong. We have seen students find great success beyond the field including one heading off to the Naval Academy, another to the Coast Guard, and even a few to play college ball. As a school, in 2019, Northwest had the most winning Fall Season of activities. Is it because of the BCL’s and our program? Not solely, but I can confidently say that when your football team is doing well, your school often follows suit. 

It’s an honor to be a part of any person’s journey. When it comes to the young men on the GINW Vikings, it’s not just an honor, it is a privilege. Thank you. 


Maile Ilac Boeder, IOM 

For more on how we can build a custom leadership program for you and our team or organizations, visit our D4LC page or call Maile at 402.69.3434. Thank you! 



Proud Service Providers & Sponsors

The Leadership Center
Business Office
2211 Q Street, Aurora, NE 68818
Espressions: Coffee & Community
1117 M Street, Aurora, NE 68818
Phone 402-694-3214

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