MAILED: July 16, 1998|
EAU CLAIRE -- The first female president of the United States was sitting in the Towers Social Room last week. She said so herself.
She was at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire to gain the skills she'll need to take her place in the White House.
In its ninth year at UW-Eau Claire, the Leadership Institute welcomed high school students _ tomorrow's leaders _ to a weeklong workshop that helped them develop critical life skills, such as goal-setting, time management, risk taking, interpersonal communication and assertiveness.
"Leadership is the ability to attain common goals through the empowerment of people," said Doug Hallatt, program coordinator.
That empowerment is the ability to bring forth potential in others, which is exactly what the Institute aims to do.
The Leadership Institute is a pre-collegiate program designed to help young people reach their personal, academic and career goals, Hallatt said.
"They are learning to be responsible for themselves," Hallatt said. "What happens to them is up to them. Life is full of choices."
The institute is run through UW-Eau Claire College of Business Center for Leadership. The Center is comprised of programs and seminars for middle to high school students, leadership development courses offered within the College of Business and professional development programs and services directed toward the business community.
The Leadership Institute is running five sessions this summer _ one middle school program held on the UW-Eau Claire campus and four pre-collegiate programs held at UW-Eau Claire, the University of Minnesota and the University of Montana-Missoula.
Participation in the Institute costs $425, which includes tuition, materials and room and board. Funding comes from the participants, scholarships from various corporations and schools, and the Department of Public Instruction.
The Leadership Institute's "Choose Confidence" curriculum provides the foundation for the summer program. It also has been recognized for its work with at-risk students from inner cities and rural areas.
Participants have jam-packed days full of interactive group activities, learning and fun. During their first day on campus, participants did the ROPES course, for example. Another skill-building activity included "Archie Bunker's Neighborhood," a lesson in diversity and racial issues.
But the curriculum is not the program's only strong point. "The key is the facilitators," Hallatt said. "They know the curriculum and are great role models. They really make this work."
One such person, a former participant and two-time facilitator, UW-Eau Claire senior Sarah Snyder now is spending her second summer as an Institute coordinator.
"Camp gave me confidence and the support system, or network, I needed to grow during my first year as a freshman," Snyder said. "It gives you a sense of who you are, a self-awareness."
Snyder said one of the most important parts of the Institute is the creation of a personal mission statement.
"It is a statement of who you want to ultimately become," she said. "And it gives you the tools to become that person."
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: July 17, 1998