What Others are Saying
“The IDEALS program was an important formative experience for me as an adolescent. Through the IDEALS program I learned what it means to be an effective leader – in a moral, as well as, functional sense. This central lesson didn’t simply stay with me, but rather was one that I internalized in such a way that it became part of the fabric of my life. I also found that my relationship with Jack didn’t end when the program officially ended. He continues to track my progress after IDEALS and he became an important mentor for me.”
This program is designed to work with high school athletes during their junior year who are varsity athletes, male/ female, and all sports. The students must meet certain academic standards and their coach and administration feel they have leadership potential. The students are required to write an essay on why they want to attend IDEALS and why there is a need for athletes to be positive role models.
The IDEALS Leadership School focuses on a group that we feel are being neglected. There are countless programs currently concentrating on the “at risk” community. These organizations/programs serve a great need and the leadership of the IDEALS Foundation wholeheartedly endorses these programs. However, there is another “at risk” group that is not being properly addressed. This is the group IDEALS decided to target. This group consists of young student athletes that show leadership potential and through their leadership will influence countless other young people. This group needs to receive the proper training and mentoring to be able to develop that potential into effective leadership skills and influence. This group of leaders can then influence in an exponential manner those who look up to them and want to emulate their behavior.
IDEALS made the decision to focus on high school junior student athletes for several reasons. At their age, they are more moldable as compared to college and professional athletes. This group also has the opportunity to demonstrate their enhanced leadership influence during their senior year thus benefiting both their teams and respective schools. This provides an incentive for both the coach and school to get their student athletes involved in the program.
Students are not charged a fee to attend so that no deserving young person is turned away for financial reasons.
In 1993 the first IDEALS Leadership School was kicked off with 24 high school student athletes. We met for eight Sunday evenings, providing a meal each week. The initial curriculum dealt with leadership, time management, communication styles, public speaking, etiquette, principles of money management and accountability. Today we average 40 to 45 athletes per class and have continued to enhance our curriculum (see curriculum).
IDEALS Leadership School Curriculum
- Goal Setting – setting goals in the key areas of your life, not being discouraged by obstacles
- What is a Role Model and why are they needed? – characteristics, actions, responsibility and accountability
- Public Speaking – training to develop confidence and effectiveness when speaking in front of a group
- Challenges of a Role Model – what to expect and how to deal with the challenges
- Next Level Leadership – how to take your leadership and the team’s performance to the next level
- Principles of Money Management – developing a plan, budget, discipline, debt, interest, giving, etc.
- Communication – four different ways people think and communicate and how to relate to each
- Decision Making – creating a model / process to help make better decisions
- Etiquette – proper techniques for meeting people and clarity as to how to be comfortable in a formal dining setting
- Creating your “I Believe” list – developing the principles, values and beliefs that will form who you are and how you conduct your life
- Time Management – learning how to control your time and prioritize activities
- Team Dynamics – understanding the key principles necessary to create team chemistry and optimize performance
- Teamwork – developing the trust, execution, accountability and “mission over me” mindset needed to create a successful team.
Each class may also have one or two guest speakers who will share a special message with the class. One session will be set aside for an open forum discussion on other topics the class would like to discuss.
Each topic is presented by a volunteer instructor and IDEALS is given the rights to use their material if the material was not originally developed by IDEALS. Each weekly meeting consists of two topics followed by discussion and application techniques. Public Speaking application carries over to multiple sessions.
Each Leadership School consists of eight weeks and is held on Sunday evenings from 5:00 – 8:30 PM. A full meal is provided each week for the participants. IDEALS holds a banquet at the end of the program for parents and coaches to attend.
Leadership School Agenda
5:00 – 5:15 Review previous week and social time
5:15 – 6:15 Speaker I (breakout discussion / activities)
6:15 – 6:30 Break and social time
6:30 – 7:00 Dinner
7:00 – 8:00 Speaker II (breakout discussion / activities)
8:00 – 8:10 Break
8:10 – 8:30 General Discussion