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

Preparing the next generation to ensure a community that works well for all people, Incourage’s South Wood County Teen Leadership provides unique, hands-on learning experiences for local high school sophomores each year. Since 2006, 250 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 past community projects, teens have:

  • planned an intergenerational activity day with seniors, 2015
  • cleaned, primed and painted 15 donated bikes for the first rural Bike Share program in Wisconsin, 2014
  • planted trees and shrubs as a vegetative buffer for the Two Mile Detention Pond, 2013
  • built seven Little Free Libraries for each community in the south Wood County area, 2012
  • developed a dog walking path at South Wood County Humane Society, 2011
  • built four portable table-top gardens that are used by low income, elderly and special needs individuals, 2010
  • restored the low ropes course at YMCA Camp Alexander, 2009
  • developed a classroom garden for children at Building Blocks Learning Center, 2008
  • planned a day of activities for Park Place adult day care clients, 2007

View a video from the Class of 2017’s community project:

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:

  • Midstate Independent Living Consultants: River Cities Clubhouse, an organization that helps residents with mental health issues, 2015
  • Wisconsin Coalition for Youth: Distracted Driving Kills, 2014
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Wisconsin Rapids Area: Keystone Leadership Challenge, 2013
  • North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board: Youth Job Center Open House & Resource Fair, 2012
  • Pittsville Area Historical Society: A Day at Scranton School, 2011
  • Junior Achievement: Job Shadowing program, 2010

2016-2017 Teen Leadership Sponsors:

  • Aspirus Riverview Hospitals & Clinics
  • American Family Insurance – Tom Schneider Agency
  • Bull’s Eye Credit Union
  • City of Wisconsin Rapids – Helen’s Zoo House
  • Family Natural Health Foods
  • Feldner/Ritchay Funeral Home
  • Great Expectations
  • Incourage
  • McMillan Memorial Library
  • Nekoosa Area Senior/Community Center
  • O’Leary Orthodontics
  • Opportunity Development Centers
  • Paper City Savings Association
  • Solarus
  • Tri-City Curling Club
  • University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point
  • Walker Cranberry Company
  • Wood County Courthouse
  • Wood County Criminal Justice Taskforce
  • YMCA Camp Alexander