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The Program Puts Athletes Through Their Paces

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
Boston, MA – As the Boston Bruins development camp kicked off this week, the young hockey stars endured intense 100-degree heat and rigorous testing. However, nothing could compare to the intensity of “The Program.”

Lifting logs for The Program.
Founded three years ago by native New Englander and lifelong Bruins fan Eric Kapitulik, The Program is an athletic and leadership program designed to help form a strong work ethic, physical and mental toughness, and positive teamwork.

Together, these three values form The Program’s “three core principles.”

Kapitulik is an ex-Marine Corps. Special Operations Officer who now dedicates his life to teaching people of all ages and athletic ability the traits of true leadership.

“What we do has nothing to do with bigger, faster, stronger,” said Kapitulik, speaking about the program that he has built into one of the premier leadership and athletic programs in athletics today.

Kapitulik founded The Program after experiencing lack-of-leadership problems within his own life. He decided to start a company that sought to teach people the value and importance of strong leadership.

“So when I started the company there was no trust fund for me to weigh in on so I had to use something called Mr. Visa,” he said, alluding to the way in which The Program was funded in its early days – straight out of his pocket.

However, his connections to the college lacrosse world sent his idea to new heights.

“When I first started off, I played college lacrosse at the Naval Academy, I knew some college lacrosse coaches, I called coaches and said trust me this is good. It works.”

Luckily for Kapitulik, the coaches believed in him enough and in just one year, The Program grew from three colleges to over 90 organizations including professional, collegiate, and high school programs.

“What we do and what we believe in is leadership development, personal development and team building through shared facing adversity.”

‘Adversity’ is putting it lightly.

The Program features leadership development through intense and military-boot-camp-like physical exercises designed to test the physical and mental toughness, and limits, of each individual.

This process is dubbed ‘Judgment Day’, in which the athletes or team are forced to seek a common goal before they can move on to the next exercise.

How they reach that goal, however, is left entirely up to them

“The physical manner that we work them in is we do physical exercises that are team based and then we add our own wrinkle to them that forces people to take charge of the team. It’s not us leading the exercises; it’s just us setting high standards.”

So how does one go about surviving Judgment Day?

Kapitulik offers this advice:

“The advice I would I've someone if they were about to go through Judgment Day is the same I would give to somebody in any walk of life on any day,

“Stay focused on mission accomplishment and take care of your people, which means one thing; make every single decision with your teammates best interest at heart first, not your own.”

Despite the high level of physical activity and physical demands of Judgment Day, Kapitulik maintains pointed out the psychological benefits of The Program, not simply the physical.

“We just believe, inherently, that people want high standards set for them,” he said. “They want to be held to those high standards. They want to be challenged.”

Kapitulik really believes that through The Program, anyone can achieve success by sticking to the core principles.

“I really hope that at the end of the day, everybody who goes through Judgment Day is a more confident person,” said Kapitulik. “By getting through something that you're not sure you can, you gain confidence. I would certainly hope that occurs every time.”

--Brian Smith
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