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2018 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

55 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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!

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!

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.

1

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

WILS is an organization that has introduced me to inspirational adults as well as students my age that not only teach me about becoming a better leader, but also how to be more myself. I'm forever grateful for the opportunity to be connected with people as amazing as everyone in WILS.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

WILS is an organization that is constantly changing my life and the way I view it. From meeting amazing adult role models, to peers your age to connect with- it's an amazing organization that brings people together to volunteer, make better leaders, and direct new generations on a path to success.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been part of WILS since 2008. I currently work at a university in the state of Wisconsin and can honestly say that WILS lead me to where I am today. It showed me what it takes to be a good leader, how to be myself, the importance and need for volunteering in our community, and allowed me to make numerous friendships.

Cassie12

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with this organization for over ten years. As an educator, I come across programs for everything under the sun. This organization, WILS, is one of the finer ones. I put my time and energy into WILS because of this. The programming and thoughtfulness of the staff is amazing. Each year, the staff reads and evaluates the student and volunteer feedback. Programming changes are made each year so that the seminar is alway top-notch. The large alumni base and return of volunteers year after year prove how wonderful this organization is. Thank you for continuing to serve our youth and make the world a better place!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been apart of WILS for five years now, from being an ambassador, to a junior staff member to now a facilitator. WILS has given me the tools to become a better leader, student and community member. I have made great friendships along the way that are sure to be lifelong. I will always be greatful for the one weekend when I was 16, it changed my life.

Devon6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been involved with Wisconsin Leadership Seminars for years. I have never met such amazing people! Everyday I am thankful to have the people of WILS in my life.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wonderful organization. They are great people who help others become better too.

Michael378

Volunteer

Rating: 5

From a parent perspective, there is no other organization that combines the power and energy of youth from across the state into one amazing group of future leaders. I have been volunteering and contributing for 10 years and each year I leave the summer seminar filled with hope for the future from a great conglomeration of high school sophomores. Many have gone on to do great things with their careers as I hear stories and meet the alumni each year. More power to WILS.

Mike Skupien, parent of board member and original WILSer in 2005.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization, honestly, changed my life. I attended WILS in the summer of 2014. Going into it, I was quiet shy and did not view myself as a strong leader. After, I was a new person. I learned not to be scarred (scurred) by what others think of me and not to limit myself by creating a box to hide inside. I also learned what type of leader and how to adjust how I work with others to lead a productive group. I now play a more productive role in groups in school and work, and attribute my confidence to that fun weekend with the greatest people in the world. Thank you WILS for not only giving me an opportunity to grow as a person and make new connections, but for giving me an outlet to help others do the same.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a part of WILS since 2005. I have been a student leader, junior staff and facilitator. I have been a part of a handful of student leadership organizations, but nothing compares to WILS. This seminar is run completely by volunteers and students do not have to pay anything to take part in the event. There is one student chosen from each HS in Wisconsin, so most students don't know anyone when they arrive. This experience is something I look forward to each and every year. I have learned so much about myself, gained so many useful life skills and have made life long friends. If I hadn't attended WILS all those years ago and continued to stay involved I can honestly say that I would not be the person that I am today.

Star S.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I attended WILS as a student leader in 2006. It was absolutely eye opening. From 2007-2010 I returned as a Junior Staff member and since 2011 I have returned as an adult staff member, even joining the Board of Directors in 2014. WILS makes it possible for many students to not only learn more about themselves and what kind of leader they are; they are also exposed to different mindsets and opinions of peers their age from all across the state of Wisconsin- all free of cost! This is truly an outstanding organization.