ECU summer leadership camp seeking student participants

Christina Cantey helps unload construction materials during a work day for Habitat for Humanity at the 2012 Shelton Leadership Academy. (Photo by Jay Clark)

Christina Cantey helps unload construction materials during a work day for Habitat for Humanity at the 2012 Shelton Leadership Academy. (Photo by Jay Clark)

High school students interested in growing their leadership skills this summer can register to participate in the second year of the Shelton Leadership Challenge at East Carolina University.

The weeklong camp runs this year from July 21-26 and organizers are accepting applications through July 8. Space for approximately 10 students remains available, said Mandee Foushee Lancaster, director of the Shelton Leadership Initiative in ECU’s Office of Engagement, Innovation and Economic Development. The entire camp class will be no larger than 40 students.

Youths entering the ninth through 12th grades or who are graduating from high school this spring are eligible for the program, which is led by other high school students who have completed the Shelton Challenge, college students and ECU faculty and staff volunteers.

Students accepted into the six-day residential camp will participate in activities that help build a greater understanding of personal leadership assessment and interpersonal dynamics; the role of values and ethics in leadership; leadership traits and approaches; teambuilding and empowering others; civic and social responsibility; and goal setting.
Low and high ropes courses, a service project, and evening activities organized by the students help them get to know one another.

Applicants must have at a 3.0 or higher GPA and two references to be eligible. The cost of the program is $575 per student.

The challenge program was developed at N.C. State’s Shelton Leadership Center, created a decade ago by alumnus Gen. H. Hugh Shelton. After a 38-year career in the U.S. Army, Shelton became the 14th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in October 1997 and served two terms.

Among his many military awards, Shelton has received four Defense Distinguished Service Medals, two Army Distinguished Service Medals, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal for Valor and the Purple Heart. He has been decorated by 16 foreign governments and in 2001 Shelton was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

Shelton spoke at the inaugural opening day ceremony for ECU’s chapter of the challenge last July. He will return to campus for the opening ceremonies this year, Lancaster said. She added that informal feedback and formal evaluations have show the first year was a great success.

“They made lifelong friends,” she said of the first class. “The amount of growth seen at every level the last year – for participants and staff – was amazing.”

Lancaster added that though all but one participant joined the challenge at their parents’ urging, “by the end of the week they didn’t want to leave.”

Organizers are seeking sponsors to help defer some of the program costs, which include transportation, lodging and meals. Anyone wishing to help fund the program can donate in the following ways:

•   A student fee scholarship of $650 per youth
•   A student partial scholarship of $325 per youth
•   An ECU Shelton Challenge general fund donation
•   By sponsoring a refreshment break for $200
•   Corporate sponsors can add their logo to participant T-shirts for $1,000.

For more information about the Shelton Leadership Challenge at ECU, visit