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.
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.
Honestly, sending our oldest son to ILS wasn’t high on our priority list when he was first selected. It sounded like a great weekend, but it was in Chicago and we weren’t sure we wanted to make a two and a half hour trip just for that. We are so grateful his counselor convinced us that this was a great opportunity. We try our best to lead by example as parents, but ultimately, teenagers look to their peers as examples. ILS surrounded our son with a group of friends that not only let him know it was OK to be a leader, they encouraged it. We were so pleased we made sure our other children applied for the program too, and are now the proud parents of three ILS alumni! Let your child go? No, you shouldn’t ‘let’ them go. You shouldn’t let them miss this!
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.
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 consider myself an over-worrier, so naturally I was extremely nervous about not knowing what to expect at ILS. I am so glad I put up with the worrying. ILS taught me a lot, mainly that you get out of life what you put into it, that you can’t be afraid to be yourself and speak up, but also that I shouldn’t worry as much anymore. Dozens of times a situation like this has occurred: I get all stressed out and then it turns out I have a ton of fun. I think ILS was what I needed to realize I can stop doing this to myself.
Illinois Leadership Seminar gives opportunities to high school students that go beyond what they encounter in high school. It is an invaluable experience for students as every person has leadership potential. Huntley takes advantage of this excellent seminar so that our students who are nominated begin to unfold the leadership layers that they are capable of so that they experience success in their post high school endeavors.
Thank you so much for the opportunity that you gave me this past weekend. I had the time of my life! I got to meet some amazing people along the way and learned a lot about getting out of my box and having the strength to be a leader. I love you all, and you are my family now.
We come from a small town where everyone knows each other and people usually don’t move too far away. Haley was selected to attend and the decision to send her was frightening to say the least; my 15 year old daughter in Chicago, alone, for the weekend. Our daughter enjoyed every minute of the weekend and looks forward to being active with ILS. The opportunity to meet other people, interact with other ideas and personalities and learn that there is a world outside of her small “fishbowl” town is second to none. Thank you for the weekend, for giving up your time to volunteer to help these kids move ahead. All your effort is greatly appreciated and I believe will definitely pay off.
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.
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.