Teen Leadership

Young Leaders: Leading Habits

The early bird might get the worm, but local high school students immersed in real world leadership challenges are getting wings. Sophomores from five area high schools meet once a month to soak in the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens and learn another trait invaluable to effective leadership: the ability to work together in a community setting.

Teen Leadership

South Wood County Teen Leadership, a program of Incourage Community Foundation, provides unique, hands-on learning experiences for local high school sophomores each year. Since 2006, 149 youth have participated.

Students meet once a month, September through April, during their sophomore year. Using the guiding principles from Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey, students study one habit each month. The book provides a guide to help teens improve self-image, build friendships, resist peer pressure, achieve goals and get along with people. Sessions center on learning and applying these skills toward leadership and community involvement.

Each participant meets with a community leader and learns how the leader uses his/her skills in a community role.

Students also are involved in one major community project, selected and executed by the class. They must use their newly-honed Teen Leadership skills to make decisions and work together. In the past, students have volunteered at Park Place, an adult day care program; developed an outdoor classroom garden at Building Blocks Learning Center; restored the low ropes course at YMCA Camp Alexander; and built table-top gardens which provide easy accessibility for low income elderly and people with disabilities.

In 2009, a grantmaking component was introduced. Teens review and evaluate grant applications from local nonprofits that provide services for teens. The teen leaders then determine which organization will receive a $2,000 grant award. Past recipients include Junior Achievement job shadow program and Pittsville Area Historical Society’s “A Day at Scranton School.”

How to participate:


For additional information, contact:
Dawn Vruwink | dvruwink@incouragecf.org | 715.423.3863

2013-2014 Teen Leadership Sponsors:

  • American Family Insurance – Tom Schneider Agency
  • Animal Medical & Surgical Clinic
  • Bull’s Eye Credit Union
  • City of Wisconsin Rapids – Helen’s Zoo House
  • Family Natural Foods
  • Feldner/Ritchay Funeral Home
  • Highland Training & Development
  • Incourage Community Foundation
  • McMillan Memorial Library
  • Nekoosa Area Senior/Community Center
  • Opportunity Development Centers
  • Paper City Savings Association
  • Pioneer Bank
  • Rapids Ford Lincoln Mercury
  • Renaissance Learning
  • Riverview Medical Center
  • University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point
  • Walker Cranberry Company
  • Wood County Courthouse
  • Wood County Criminal Justice Taskforce
  • YMCA Camp Alexander