At Valley Forge, we are dedicated to the moral and character development of our young cadets. Through our Character Development Program, we seek to educate the cadets to be ethically minded citizen leaders of character. We strive to teach them to live in today’s changing world while adhering to those changeless values that develop moral strength leading to honorable living. The tenets of the Honor Code and System are reinforced in training. The Chain of Command is fully versed in the Honor Code and System and is prepared to teach its subordinates as well as ensure that they adhere to the stated policies of this cadet-owned and cadet-run system.
The Character Development Program is built upon a foundation of Honor and each month a different Honor Trait is emphasized. Honesty, Trustworthiness, Respect, Service, Courage, Self-Discipline, Responsibility, Caring and Perseverance are examples of monthly virtues. Character Development also occurs in the classroom and in the cadet company. In preparing their course curriculum, instructors integrate character education into their academic disciplines and they lead their classes through a discussion of the Character Education Virtue at least once a month. This “hands on” approach enables cadets to participate in developing their own value system for handling challenging moral situations. The expectation is that the cadet will develop a process of thinking in order to make intelligent and responsible moral decisions. Such active involvement helps the cadets develop a deeper understanding of their moral obligations and encourages them in the words of the Cadet Resolution, to “aspire to a life of honorable service.”
Community service plays an important role in character development. As an expression of civic responsibility, Academy and College cadets are engaged in a variety of projects and activities at schools, nursing homes, churches, food banks and worksites where they can contribute to the betterment of the community.
The Commandant’s Department dedicates time on a regular basis to reinforce an aspect of character development. These lessons, co-taught by a TAC Officer-Cadet Team, range from the way the Honor System works to discussions of recent honor cases and lessons learned, to dealing with diversity and treating all with respect and dignity. Faculty members and other subject matter experts will often add to this vital facet of character development. At Valley Forge, we strive to create a character building environment that integrates Academic, Military, Leadership, Physical and Spiritual activities that best fulfill the development of the whole person and their character.
The Sunday Chapel service is held at 11:00 AM as scheduled. It is singular in its beauty, grandeur and inspiration, and is centrally significant to cadet life. It is a blending of the religious, patriotic and military traditions conceived to motivate, inspire and undergirds our Character Development Program. While Christian in nature and format, the service is nondenominational. Speakers focus on the Honor Trait for that month and refer to them in their sermons. Selected speakers include prominent clergy of various faiths, leaders in civic, educational, corporate and national affairs and our own Staff and Faculty. Their addresses emphasize the Core Virtues of our Character Development Program. Visitors are always welcome at the Sunday morning worship service.
A Priest from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia celebrates Catholic Mass on campus every Sunday afternoon. Arrangements are also made for Catholic, Muslim and Jewish cadets to observe holy days on campus or at an appropriate nearby location. Along with an alternative service during Chapel Service on Sundays, Jewish cadets may attend services on designated Saturday mornings at a local synagogue and Muslim cadets may attend services at a local mosque on designated Friday afternoons.
Fellowship Groupsfor Jewish, Muslim, Protestant, and Catholic cadets are available to further their religious education. Religious instruction is also available for Catholic cadets preparing for the Sacraments.