The ILS Experience.
What is Illinois Leadership Seminar?
Illinois Leadership Seminars is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that exists to make a difference and teach life-long leadership skills to high school students in Illinois who demonstrate a spark of leadership. We encourage leadership development by:
- Providing the essential tools and skills for leadership development
- Exposing students to a broad spectrum of views and opinions
- Creating an open and inclusive environment in which thoughts and ideas may be freely exchanged
- Instilling an appreciation for the diversity of the world
- Providing on-going support through our alumni group, volunteers and other opportunities
Leaders participate in team-building activities, community service, a talent showcase, small group discussions; listen to motivational speakers and panels of key leaders from various industries and much more.
We encourage leadership development through emphasis on personal responsibility, volunteerism, increased awareness of social and community issues, and an open-minded analysis of all sides of an issue when making decisions.
There is nothing scheduled as of right now.
The Illinois Leadership Seminar to me means so much. I thought that it was just going to be lectures and speakers all discussing how to lead. I was wrong. The effect that ILS has on the sophomores who come through it is too great for words, and the fact that this change can happen in just two days is simply amazing. Illinois Leadership Seminar is one organization that I would like to stay with for as long as I can.
From experience, I can honestly say ILS was one of the most enlightening, encouraging, and outstanding weekends I have had in my life so far. Before ILS, I was unsure of who I was as a student, teenager, and leader. I was struggling with certain classes at school, feeling I wasn’t good enough to succeed. ILS changed me. It made me a stronger and more open person, a better leader by being able to relate to others, and an all-around better and more inviting person.
I walked in as a leader and walked out as a leader who could take on the world! ILS helped reveal the true leader within me. It showed me that I had so much more to give back to my family, friends, school, and community. It’s very challenging to write down what went on in that short weekend, but all I know, is that I will never be the same person as I was before the Illinois Leadership Seminar.
It was great to be accepted for my extreme enthusiasm and friendliness. Now, I am confident and not intimidated to go up to friends of a friend, or new people, or people I wait on, or even just the person in line next to me at the grocery store. I guess it seems silly, but I wave and smile to people when I drive now. I don’t even know the person, but seminar taught me that it’s never weird or inappropriate to be happy about life.
I feel that ILS has made me better person. I’m not just saying that to play up the seminar. I can honestly say that I finally realize that I can make a difference in the world just by being myself. I’m not sure that I totally felt that way before the seminar. It was a great feeling to know that I have these people whom I’ve known for only 24 hours supporting me. I hope that there will be many more years of ILS so that I can stay involved and learn even more.
ILS is the only place that I have ever felt like it’s okay to just be me. I went in to seminar on a Friday morning as a shy, self-conscious 16 year old. I always was trying to please everybody around me, even if that meant sacrificing my own character in the process. I came out of seminar on Sunday afternoon a changed person. I finally realized that being me is okay; in fact, being me is the best thing I can ever do.
ILS has been the most eye-opening experience I’ve ever had. The environment was so welcoming and friendly, I felt right at home from the very beginning. I now look at things in a different way thanks to the skills I learned at ILS. I’ve learned that I don’t have to be afraid of the haters, because they will always be there, and I can only change myself. When school starts up again in the fall, I want to introduce a new club to my school, focusing on the things things I learned at ILS.
Going into the seminar, I was a naïve sophomore who was one of the shyest people in my high school. After seminar, there was confidence instilled in me from interactions with the different people in my group and the staff. This confidence has stuck with me ever since and I am the leader I am today because of my seminar experience. I firmly believe that my life would not same if I was not lucky enough to experience seminar.
I honestly would be a different person if I had not gone to Illinois Leadership Seminar, and it continues to change the lives of many other young people. It gives them the opportunity to see their true potential and put forth that force they may have kept hidden for so long.
ILS taught me that leadership isn’t all about guiding others. Leadership is about learning to better yourself in order to help others. Be caring, generous, thoughtful, and open to new ideas and people. By doing so, you will help others come out of their comfort zone and accomplish their goals. Most importantly, ILS has given me the environment of people believing in me and supporting me on my road to success. Anywhere I go, I know that my ILS family will be there to bring me up, not tear me down.