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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Wisconsin Leadership Seminars Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Philanthropy, Voluntarism Promotion, Youth Development - Citizenship, Youth Development Programs

Mission: WILS identifies outstanding high school sophomores throughout Wisconsin for being responsible citizens in their community and/or school and provide them with the opportunity and encouragement to recognize their leadership potential.

Results: WILS fulfills our mission through an annual 3-day leadership seminar encouraging leadership development through emphasis on personal responsibility, volunteerism, increased awareness of social issues, and open-minded analysis of all sides of an issue when making decisions. The seminar is held at the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater in Whitewater, WI and is offered at no charge to the schools or students. Our volunteers and alumni work tirelessly during the year to raise all funds needed to host seminar. Our mission is carried on throughout the year and into future seminars through our Alumni Association. The alumni hold reunions and perform community service several times between each seminar in order to maintain the WILS spirit, continue friendships and give back to the community. WILS volunteers over 1,000 hours in our communities each year! WILS has served nearly 200 high school sophomores per year for over thirty-nine years. Since inception, WILS has fund raised and fully funded each seminar through 100% volunteer donations of money, time and gifts in kind. Student leaders served return year after year to give back to the organization.

Target demographics: Along with high school guidance counselors and club leaders, we work to identify outstanding high school sophomores who are responsible citizens in their community and/or school and provide them with the opportunity and encouragement to recognize their leadership potential.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Since 1978, WILS has impacted over 200 students per year from all over Wisconsin and upper Michigan.

Geographic areas served: The entire state of Wisconsin

Programs: An annual 3-day leadership seminar encouraging leadership development through emphasis on personal responsibility, volunteerism, increased awareness of social issues, and open-minded analysis of all sides of an issue when making decisions. The seminar is held at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in Whitewater, WI and is offered at no charge to the students or their schools. All seminar speakers and staff are unpaid volunteers. Visit our official website to see what we are currently doing!

Community Stories

52 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Julia G.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I attended WILS in 2014 and it was an experience of a lifetime. I didn't attend reunions for a while and was worried that it would be hard to jump back into the group, but I was welcomed with open arms. Everyone that I have met in this organization is caring, motivated, and incredible. I volunteered at the 2017 seminar and will be returning at seminar 2018 as a Junior Staff. I have also attended 5 reunions. WILS has shaped me into who I am and introduced me to people that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Josh K.1

Board Member

Rating: 5

It’s been 17 years since my first WILS experience, and it still remains as one of the most formative and impactful times in my life. The development opportunities WILS presented me with then and ever since have allowed me to grow personally and professionally, all while forming personal bonds with many amazing friends. That is why i continue to be a part of making this experience possible for hundreds of student leaders each year, and it is truly a treat to see just how good our future looks when observing them!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I attended WILS in 2017 and absolutely loved it! The experiences that I had have changed my life forever, I met so many new friends, and learned so much-not only about myself but about others as well. This organization is so amazing and continues to change lives one seminar at a time.

Christal R.

Client Served

Rating: 5

An outstanding program for the youth of Wisconsin! It guided me towards strength and leadership when I was young. I had the opportunity to give back years later as a group facilitator a few times. A rewarding experience to be around so many positive vibes.
I definitely hope to get back into WILS in the near future, but I always know there is a WILS alumni somewhere out in the world, making it a better place.

Rachel H.2

Board Member

Rating: 5

WILS is an amazing organization and has changed my life for the better. I am so blessed to be on the alumni association board and am grateful for the lifelong friendships I have made.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended WILS Summer of 2014 and it was honestly one of the most life changing experiences I've ever had. I have never attended a seminar where EVERYONE was as friendly and welcoming as at this seminar. I returned for the first time to volunteer Summer of 2017 and that was one of the best volunteer experiences I've had. I felt like part of a large family and learned so much from all the other volunteers. WILS is such an amazing organization and nothing I can say about it will be truly as amazing as experiencing it firsthand.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was a WILS attendee in 2013 and I can say it was absolutely the most memorable event of that entire summer. I met wonderful people that welcomed me like family and learned about different leadership skills from many different community members. Thank you so much for putting all this time and effort into making a difference in leaders' lives.

mwell_12

Board Member

Rating: 5

A truly dynamic organization which continues to inspire and motivates so many young leaders! Not only does the organization sponsor such a spectacular seminar for 200+ deserving Wisconsin students, but also continues to foster and develop leadership skills for the many students who choose to stay involved. I am extremely blessed and honored to have been able to be involved with this organization.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

WILS has impacted my life in so many ways. It has helped me find my true self, believe in myself, and most importantly, believe in others and the impact we can all have. WILS events do not last long, but if I ever need a reminder of the things I have learned through this oragnization, I can simply turn to the many life long friends I have made during my time as a student leader and as a alumni!

2 RipplesGuy

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

In my twenty years of experience working in leadership development, I've been lucky enough to encounter many remarkable organizations committed to the important work of helping today's youth identify and nurture their leadership capacity. WILS stands out as one of the most transformative and most comprehensive (not to mention fun, fun, FUN!) leadership development experiences I have ever had the opportunity to be a part of. I am proud to remain connected to several people who credit WILS with helping them recognize and enhance their leadership skills. I'll never forget the several years I spent helping them kick off the weekend, and I continue to support their work with donations.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I will never forget my time at WILS. As a participant, I not only got to volunteer and help others, but met some amazing people as well. WILS has been one of the most impactful experiences of my life. I hope that more people consider volunteering with the program in the future!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I attended WILS in 2013 and have since been involved. I attend reunions, volunteer at numerous events, and am now serving on the Alumni Association Board. This organization has given me more than I could possible explain. Friends for life, confidence, a sense of belonging, and powerful leadership skills to name a few. This has exceeded my life beyond belief. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to attend this seminar because it is truly life changing. WILS is not something that you leave from. Once you are involved, the things that are taught will stay with you for life.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I met many incredible people through WILS. WILS leadership program gave me the skills and inspiration to make the world a better place. Who I am and what I do to improve myself and my community today is a direct result of the positively impactful time I was privileged to spend at the WILS Seminar. WILS is very empowering and uplifting of students across the state of Wisconsin. Collectively, WILS has had a far reach and incredible impact in the great state of Wisconsin and the people in it. I never forget the time I spent at Seminar, as I am always trying to pay it forward daily in pursuit of making my community a better place, in addition to actualizing those dreams of mine WILS empowered me to believe I could achieve, which is a big first experience to have as a high schooler.

My wish is for everyone to receieve the gift of WILS Seminar.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

WILS was an amazing opportunity that wound up being a life changing experience. Going in, I thought it was just going to be something kind of fun that my brother had over-hyped, but upon arriving I felt right at home. Since attending, I have done my best to be at every reunion and opportunity to reunite with my WILS family. WILS has definitely changed my life, and if you have the opportunity to go, I would 100% say go!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Although seminar lasts only a few short days, the impact on my life has been ongoing! WILS completely changed me as a person and enabled me to "find" myself and grow in ways I didn't think I could. Having the ability to meet amazing people from across state and share things about yourself that you wouldn't share with anyone else is a unique experience that WILS offers! Wouldn't have passed up this oppurtunity for the world. :)

Client Served

Rating: 5

WILS was an amazing networking opportunity and changed my life in a matter of 3 days. I can't thank this program enough for introducing me to some of my most cherished friends and a greater sense for leadership. @Australia: Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Wisconsin leadership seminar is the most supportive, dynamic, and life changing group of people I have ever met. They help shape young adults into strong leaders and help them reach their potential. WILS was the best experience of my life and I hope anyone who has the chance to experience WILS makes the best decision of their life and chooses to attend.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've never met a more supportive or caring group of people. This organization cares for everyone no matter who they are. They help anyone or any cause! I love how the community members support one another and supported me when I needed some support! The organization truly cares about the lives and the betterment of the community and society as a whole! Words cannot express just how amazing this group of people is and the impact they have had on my and on other!

Jessica335

Client Served

Rating: 5

I went to WILS in 2010 and have returned for reunions whenever possible. WILS helped me see my potential for leadership roles, which boosted my confidence and motivated me to become a student representative on my school board, high school valedictorian, hold several positions within my sorority during college, and continue to pursue my goals of obtaining my PhD and running my own lab. I think that the lessons I learned and the friendships I made at WILS are unlike any other. Everyone at WILS comes from a different place and has had different experiences, but we all share the fact that we have been recognized by our schools as having leadership potential. WILS changed my life and I don't think I would be who I am today or have had the same amount of success if it wasn't for this organization teaching me the skills I needed and providing me with a support network and lifelong friends.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

In 2005, I was lucky enough to attend this amazing seminar. Watching the organization grow and change over the last 12 years has been an amazing journey. I can go on and on about the benefits of the seminar - the leadership and life skills you gain, the friendships you make, but what speaks loudest is to meet one of our alumni. We are in all fields of work, making a (big and small) difference in our communities, in ways we likely would not have had we not been given a chance to attend the seminar. I meet many people who are worried about the future, but I'm not - after meeting these teens year after year (and being friends with many more alumni through the years), I have no qualms about where our world is headed. This organization gave me some of my best friends, helped me get great jobs, and made me the person I am today. That's why I'm not just a board member - I'm also a volunteer, and a donor.

1 Samantha95

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended WILS this past summer and it was one of the best things that has happened to me! I met so many new friends. WILS taught me so many new things about being a leader and made me more confident. WILS is such a great organization that I am so happy to be apart of!