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Building Leaders of Character

Travis Manion Foundation’s premiere Spartan Leadership Program connects purpose with passion to hone and leverage the leadership of our nation’s heroes. The 7-month program offers an innovative way for veterans and families of fallen heroes to learn and embrace the framework of Spartan Leadership, which begins with self-development and culminates in building a lasting legacy of service.

Through intentional practice and learning that blends virtual and in-person experiences, the Spartan Leadership Program is aimed at developing personal growth and leadership among veterans and survivors, who we believe are uniquely positioned to motivate communities toward meaningful change. Rooted in the principles of character-based education and positive psychology, the program's curriculum is delivered by best-in-class, like-minded professionals who share our passion for empowering veterans and families of the fallen.

The 2021 Application is Now Closed. The 2022 Application will open this October.

Spartan Leadership Framework

Defining Spartan Leadership

Being a Spartan Leader means leveraging one’s strengths to empower others to thrive through putting character into action. Our program works to develop this unique mindset by focusing on the four core principles of Spartan Leadership:



Participants will develop a deeper understanding of self in order to employ a growth mindset that ensures they always act with intention.


Connect + Challenge

Participants will learn how connecting within a group setting can facilitate self-improvement, and they are challenged to empower others to do the same.



A desire to serve is at the core of every Spartan Leader. Participants will leave the program with a heightened desire to lead by example, from the front.


Build a Legacy

We want our graduates to cultivate a lasting legacy of service - one that begins with themselves, but also continues on in their communities for many generations to come.

Leader Spotlights

Check out a few reflections from select 2020 Cohort participants on what makes the Spartan Leadership Program special.

Manuel Fletcher

Air Force Veteran

"It’s been the best thing that happened to me in 2020. I came to the program expecting another leadership class, which this was not. The Spartan Leadership Program challenged me to do things I had never done before, like reflect on my leadership, really think about how I lead and how my actions do impact others. It has helped me develop skills to be better at home, at work, and with those that I help through my volunteer work. In a nutshell, I now reflect on how I can be better to help those around me no matter the situation."

Tyson Stahl

Marine Veteran

"The Spartan Leadership Program is unique because it forces everyone to do something that they would not be doing otherwise. I simply cannot imagine that we would all be individually going through the introspective paces that the program has put us through. Even 4 years out of the Marine Corps, I still wrestle with the relevance of my experiences as a Marine in the context of the world in which I live today. The Spartan Leadership Program has helped me to turn that broad array of energy into a much more refined ‘laser beam’ to direct into the areas that actually ARE the relevant context to my experience as a Marine: character and service."

Shannon Kelly

Navy Veteran

"I have been through many leadership classes and programs in my career, but this one is much more personal. It really forces people to be honest with themselves and dig deep on what they are feeling, how those emotions can influence decisions, and make the connection between the two. As Veterans and Families of the Fallen, we tend to carry a lot of heaviness inside, whether it be grief, anger, or guilt. It can weigh you down. This program is helping us share those stories and gradually release some of that heaviness by being a part of a supportive group who’ve gone through similar experiences."

Additional Information

  • Program Details

    How is this program different from other leadership programs?

    The Spartan Leadership Program is unique not only because we’re bringing together veterans and families of fallen heroes who are already uniquely positioned to lead but also because our curriculum is enriched with character-based learning, self-discovery, and experiential leadership development. Participants are challenged to reflect on and develop a deeper understanding and clarity of personal values, passions, purpose, and leadership. We believe personal purpose is what leads to passion and thriving; our curriculum is built around that idea.

    Where are the meetings and events held?

    All curriculum meetings will be hosted online. There are two mandatory in-person meetings -- a TMF Leadership Expedition in Colorado, May 2021 as well as a capstone project presentation and graduation ceremony in November 2021; location TBD.

    Is this an accredited program? Can I receive college credit hours?

    When candidates complete the program, they will receive a certificate from the Spartan Leadership Program.

    What topics will the program curriculum cover?

    The Spartan Leadership Program consists of a 4-part framework: Develop, Connect & Challenge, Serve, and Build a Legacy. The curriculum moves each participant through the framework by way of an in-person experiential Leadership Expedition, readings, group discussions, reflection activities/assignments, guest speakers, and a cumulative capstone project.

  • Candidate Selection Process

    What are the application requirements? How will participants be selected?

    The Spartan Leadership Program is designed exclusively for veterans and families of fallen heroes. Candidates are asked to participate in a detailed application process. 

    Due to limited space, the program selection process is divided into two phases, an online application phase, and a person-by-person committee review phase. Select applicants then move forward to a series of phone and/or video interviews by members of the Selection Committee.

    Is this program open to people who are not veterans?

    This program is designed specifically for veterans and families of fallen heroes.

    Can I apply if I haven’t participated in other TMF programs?

    The Spartan Leadership Program is open to previously engaged Spartans as well as veterans and family members of fallen heroes who are new to TMF.

    When are participants chosen and notified?

    The application program is currently closed for the 2021 cohort. The selection committee will begin the process in November 2020, and all final applicants will be notified by the end of January 2021.


Please direct any additional application or program questions to SLP@travismanion.org

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TMF Stats:
001 60,000+ Veterans + Survivors Empowered
002 115,000+ Spartan Members
003 300,000+ Youth Living "If Not Me, Then Who..." Movement