Application Requirements & Instructions

What is Portage County High School Leadership?
The mission of the Portage County High School Leadership (PCHSL) Program is to collaborate with area high schools, businesses, industry, and civic organizations to develop and inspire high school students to be contributing leaders in their school, community and world.
Program Goals
The goals of the Portage County High School Leadership Program are to:
  • Develop leadership skills, confidence, and character in area high school students through specific skill development, project-based learning and interaction with community leaders.
  • Build a culture and capacity for civic engagement by connecting area high school students with their community through planning and implementing a community-centered project.
  • Create collaborations among area businesses, government, nonprofit and educational sectors to help area high school students achieve their career and leadership goals in Central Wisconsin.
  • Provide an opportunity for high school students to complete the Wisconsin Youth Leadership Certificate offered through the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. This includes key 21st Century skills development, applicable to post-secondary education and career success.
  • Implement curriculum based on the nationally recognized 21st Century Skills.
Participation Requirements:
To successfully graduate from the PCHSL program, students will: 
  • Attend the opening Leadership Retreat at Camp Manito-wish YMCA
  • Complete at least 90 hours of training and project work (includes scheduled programs)
  • Turn in a leadership portfolio including learning documents
  • Attend mentor meetings and PCHSL Program meetings
  • Be able to have personal transportation to and from meetings (carpooling encouraged)
  • With a group, design and initiate an original project for community improvement
  • Give a public presentation showcasing learning results
Applicant Requirements:
To be eligible to apply students must:
  1. Be a sophomore or junior.
  2. Be in good academic standing (transcripts will be requested from your school)
  3. Be able to participate in the activities throughout the entire next school year, as listed above.
Note that limited space is available for this program. Applications will be reviewed by a team from each school and students selected. Students will be notified of their acceptance or not into the program over the summer.
Program Schedule:
PCHSL is closely aligned with Leadership Portage County (LPC), a similar leadership program for adults in the community. Combined sessions leverage curricular content and access to local experts. This connection between the programs also allows for interaction and mentorship of young people by local business leaders.

The following program schedule is an outline of what students should expect for participation. Dates and session themes are subject to change. 100% participation is required. Exceptions may be made on a case by case basis and needs to be discussed with your cooperating mentor.
Student Orientation
Early October  |  5:00-7:00 PM  |  @ Mid-State Technical College
Students and their parents will be introduced to the program, review expectations, sign permission forms and engage in activities designed to inspire and excite student participants.
Opening Retreat at Camp Manito-wish YMCA
Thursday to Saturday, October 29-31, 2020  |  @ Camp Manito-wish YMCA (in Boulder Junction, WI *transportation provided)
During retreat students will experience team-building activities, including individual and group exercises that allow students to build team spirit, trust and self-confidence. Activities will expose students to leadership techniques and problem solving situations. The retreat is held in conjunction with students from the Central Wisconsin (Wausau) High School Leadership Program.
Leadership through Education
Thursday, November 19, 2020  |  7:45 AM-3:00 PM  |  @ Mid-State Technical College
Through facilitated discussions with educational leaders students will identify the challenges and successes in public, private, and higher education.
Leadership through Government & Public Service
Thursday, January 28, 2021  |  7:45 AM-3:00 PM  |  @ Portage County Public Library
Students will have the unique opportunity to sit down with elected officials including state, county, and city representatives. Small group discussions will lead to greater understanding of the political process and citizen engagement.
Leadership through Infrastructure, Planning, & Land Use
Thursday, February 18, 2021 |  7:45 AM-3:00 PM  |  @ UWSP Dreyfus University Center
By first understanding the planning process, students will gain knowledge of how a community grows to support all sectors of business and industry, residential needs, and commercial districts.
Leadership through Diversity & Community Building
Thursday, March 11, 2021  |  7:45 AM-3:00 PM  |  @ Jensen Community Center (Amherst)
Students will address critical skills of inclusivity and collaboration by examining biases and inequalities in their school, community and world.
Year-end Celebration Event
Late April, 2021  |  5:00-7:00 PM  | @ Sentry Theater
Program Cost:
The cost of the program is $250. This tuition covers the cost of Camp Manito-wish YMCA, transportation to camp, meals, and workshop materials. Partial scholarships are available for students in need of financial aid.
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