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Review for Illinois Leadership Seminars (ILS), Oak Park, IL, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

When I first found out I was chosen to be the sophomore from my high school to participate in ILS, I assumed that I was going to attend a conference that would sit me down and just tell me a whole bunch of tips on how to be a better leader. I expected to meet a few new people to whom I would connect, and there would be a whole bunch of people who would not really take me seriously. What I didn't expect was what actually happened. I didn't expect that I would be able to show my true personality to everyone and be accepted for it. I didn't expect that I could state my opinions truthfully and wholly without getting ridiculed. I didn't expect to meet and connect with so many people there. I didn't expect that I would have so much fun in only two days. I didn't expect that I would create lifelong friendships in just those two days. I didn't expect that the friends I created in those two days would know me better as a person and value me more than some of the people back home that I consider my "friends." I didn't expect all the adults involved in the program to treat me as an equal. I didn't expect to be so encouraged to be silly and truly be unashamed of myself. I didn't expect a place full of welcome people. I didn't expect a place where I felt at home among people I would have called complete strangers the day before ILS started. I didn't expect people who I would eventually call my family. I didn't expect to be so emotionally moved by the seminar. I didn't expect that I would learn so much about myself and others. I didn't expect that by the end of the seminar I would want to tell everyone around me about my life-changing experience and want to encourage countless freshmen to try to apply to become a part of the seminar. I didn't expect it to be what ILS is: a community, a family, a place of utter acceptance for who you are, and a life-changing experience.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...


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