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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

45 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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.

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!

Shane16

Former staff

Rating: 5

This changed my life for the better. I am now selecting a new major to help more people and open more voluenteering oppertunities

Lauren119

Client Served

Rating: 5

Going into WILS my sophomore year of high school, I had no idea what to expect. I half expected a weekend full of hokey workshops, boring speakers, and awkward activities designed to teach you how to be a leader. Instead, I found inspiration, passion, self-confidence, and a second family. At WILS, you are not taught "rules on being a good leader". Instead, you are taught how to use your own personal strengths and weaknesses in order to lead not only peers, but lead your own life. The skills that I took away from WILS, and the people I have met through WILS, have impacted my entire life. My college roommate that I have had for the past 3 years, and will have for my final year of undergrad, is actually girl I met at WILS! I am now in my junior year of college pursuing a Biology-biomedical sciences concentration and Spanish double major. I am currently studying for the MCAT and preparing to apply to medical schools this summer to pursue a career in Obstetrics or Neonatology. I am certain I wouldn't be where I am now without WILS.

Client Served

Rating: 5

WILS is an experience like no other. The seminar takes individuals that already exhibit leadership characteristics and exemplifies those traits by surrounding the participants in an environment that encourages individuality and diversity.

My perspective of what a leader looks like changed that week, and that shift was definitely for the better!

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

WILS honestly changed my life. It was an incredible organization that genuinely wanted to help me become the absolute best person I could be. They instilled a confidence in me that no one else could, and for that I'll always be grateful. It's why I keep coming back - because I think other kids deserve to have that same experience.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

WILS is the highlight of my life. It gave me the confidence to discover my passions of leading and volunteering. The environment created at WILS alows me to thrive in a way I never thought possible. Definitely the best thing to ever happen to me.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Easily the most influential group I am a part of. Everyone is willing to help each other, everyone is accepting, and there are great people that serve as the backbone of keeping this organization great and thriving. Honestly blessed!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

WILS helped me find out how good of a leader I could actually be and is full of great people!