Our LEAD Summer Program offers experience in the following areas:
Thousands of young people have come to LEAD from throughout Michigan, across America and even Canada, Mexico, England and Israel to be a part of this unique leadership training experience.
A Chance You Won't Want to Miss
During this real-world experience young people learn valuable life skills such as teamwork, critical thinking, strategic planning, and effective communications. While being engaged in high-level leadership roles, they are also inspired to apply Biblical and moral principles in their own life and the world around them.
What is LEAD?
LEAD is a life-transforming week featuring authentic leadership simulations in the legislative, media, judicial, campaign and business fields all under the direction of Christian professionals.
In the House Track, first-time students begin their SSI experience by being sworn-in as members of the House of Representatives. Students are challenged to think critically about current issues through role-playing as state lawmakers and discussing actual bills from the Michigan legislature. Each participant is assigned to a committee and a caucus, and each caucus has one bill to support and one to oppose. They learn the process of how a bill becomes a law as well as the responsibilities of citizenship.
Each caucus utilizes the SSI Media team to bring attention to their sponsored bill by calling a Press Conference.
I enjoyed going to the Capitol for the committee meetings and the mock legislature because it was so much like the real-life process. I really enjoyed the daily devotions & worship, and learned how to be a productive Christian citizen.
Carissa D. – Alumni
Student legislators hear testimony from lobbyists during committee meetings in the Capitol Building, oftentimes chaired by real State Senators & Representatives. Students can ask tough questions of the lobbyists, and gain valuable information on their bill.
This is a great opportunity for our young people and leaders. This is a great process to help students become engaged citizens.
Mark Jansen – Michigan Senator
LEAD culminates when students assemble as a legislative body on the House Floor in the Michigan Capitol to debate and cast their votes on the issues considered throughout the week. Family members and friends are invited to watch it all from the gallery!
What Does LEAD stand for?
- LEARN – Learn to live out your faith in the real world.
- EMPOWER – Be empowered to fulfill God’s purpose.
- ACT – Act like a leader. Learn by doing!
- DISCOVER – Discover and unlock your God-given potential.
Second year students or Onsite Program alumni can attend the Senate track. This advanced legislative experience allows student legislators to amend their bills, both in committee and during the final legislative session. The amendment process is much more challenging, and the strategies vary for each caucus. Senators convene for their own final legislative session in the Michigan Capitol. They also get to act as reporters during the press conferences given by the House Track students.
It was an incredible learning experience for me. It took everything that I had been taught about government for the past twelve years, and gave me a hands-on learning experience. I know that I learned more in my one week of SSI then I have through my entire school career.
Katie P. – Alumni
The Media Track, which happens during all three weeks of LEAD, is responsible for covering all of the events that take place at camp. The LEAD News Network’s print publication, The Observer, is a daily newspaper featuring the latest news and updates, as well as opinion pieces — all written by Media Track students. The LEAD News Network also produces three broadcasts during the week. Students love reading about themselves in the paper and seeing themselves on the video screen during the LEAD News Network live broadcasts, complete with news anchors, special features, and sometimes even a commercial or two.
The level of creativity is inspiring, especially since most students start with little or no media experience. The students who sign up for the Media Track dedicate themselves to keeping the public informed about what is going on in the LEAD world. They cover everything including lectures, special speakers, caucus meetings, press conferences, trips to the Capitol, recreational activities, Committee Hearings, final presentations, and much more.
Media students focus on:
- Journalism and Reporting
- Writing and Research
- Videography and Photography
- Media Ethics
The kids are just amazing, they seem to already have an idea of what they need to do. They just need a little bit of instruction to motivate them and get them to that next step.
Dan Armstrong, Corporate Communications Specialist for Covenant Eyes and former Anchor/Reporter
Acting as reporters, students conduct interviews with VIP’s like the Secretary of State or an actual Supreme Court Justice. They also create stories using video and audio. The Media Track is one of LEAD’s most dynamic learning environments.
My experience at the program went beyond my expectations. We met and talked with real politicians, reporters, and editors. I would never have that chance anywhere else! Thank you!
Lauren L. – Alumni
Like each LEAD track, experts coach the students. These include reporters, press secretaries, and communications specialists who volunteer their time and expertise. Media Track students experience both the print and broadcast sides of the journalism world through their LEAD experience.
In the Business Track, offered Week One, each student is placed on a business management team responsible for taking over and managing an existing company that generates 40 million dollars per year in revenue. They learn basic business principles and make critical decisions in research and development, production, marketing, and finance.
Business students focus on the following:
- Business Strategy
- Research and Development
- Marketing and Presentation
- Biblical Stewardship
Over the course of eight simulated years, their company competes in the marketplace, and at the end of every year each team receives an industry report that tells them how they are performing in relation to the market and their competition. They then use that information to make decisions about the next year of business.
Like the real world, business students experience success and failure. They learn that decisions made today can affect their business far into the future. Business students discuss strategy with a business coach as they make critical decisions for their company.
The main function I think is it puts them in contact with other Christians who are engaged in making a difference in our society in the right ways and for the right reasons.
Professor Gary Britten – Spring Arbor University
Also like the real world, each team must make an investor presentation to the non-business students in which they seek to raise capital for their companies, In a unique and fun way, their peers get to invest highly valued “Muffett Bucks” into whichever companies look the most promising during the presentation.
Throughout the week, students also learn the principles of business from business leaders on the topic of Biblical stewardship. Presenters focus on the importance of ethics and their responsibility as leaders who are stewards of ideas, people, attitudes, and resources, thus providing them a well-rounded, hands-on education in our free market system and its moral application
With my entrepreneurial spirit and strong competitive attitude, the Business Track was perfect for me. Actually, I’m thinking more seriously now about business as an area of study and career choice.
Justin W. – LEAD Student
Business students make an investor presentation toward the end of the week promoting the performance of their company. It is an intense, competitive environment and it immerses you in the action. It’s a blast!
Tim M. – Alumni
Mock Trial Track
In the Mock Trial Track, students study elements of our legal system through instruction and coaching provided by gifted attorneys. Students participate in mock criminal and civil trials before a jury of peers, who decide the verdict and real judges, who critique team strategy and individual presentation skills following each trial.
Mock Trial students focus on the elements of a trial, including:
- Legal Strategy and Case Presentation
- Trial Procedure
- Pretrial Motion Hearing
- Rules of Evidence
- Opening Statements and Closing Arguments
- Direct and Cross Examination
- Witness Preparation
- Courtroom Decorum
- Making motions
“The Mock Trial track was very intense. I gave it my best. I laughed, cried, and worked harder than I’ve ever worked in my life. This was the best week of my life”
Mandie S.LEAD Student
Moot Court Track
Advanced students who choose the Moot Court Track have the opportunity to argue case law in the Michigan Hall of Justice before a panel of three Appellate Judges, which many times include sitting Supreme Court Justices. Legal professors, attorneys, and judges provide the Moot Court students with critiques and instructions on their presentations in court and throughout the week. This intensive training challenges each student’s critical thinking and presentation skills. Judges have remarked that our students are better prepared and more convincing with their arguments than many practicing attorneys.
It was a pleasure listening to and questioning the students participating in the SSI Moot Court Competition. Each of the four participants were able to properly articulate their positions, even when being faced with many questions from the bench. They performed as if they had already completed college, undergraduate school and law school.
Christopher M. Murray – Michigan Court of Appeals Judge
Moot Court students focus on the elements of arguing a case, including:
- Appellate Trial Overview
- Legal Analysis
- Fundamentals of Persuasive Argument
- Preparing an Oral Argument Outline
- Oral Advocacy Presentation
They got rid of a lot of preconceptions I’d had about law and taught us so much in so little time.
Rachel V. – LEAD Student
The Campaign Track, offered week three, is political involvement like never experienced before!
Campaign students learn the following:
- Campaign Strategy
- Platform Creation
- Managing Campaign Finances and Fundraising
- Campaign Ethics
- Political Advertising
- TV and Print Ad Creation
- Handling the Media
- Press Releases and Press Conferences
The Campaign Track thrusts students into the fast and furious action of running a gubernatorial campaign. As key members of a candidate’s campaign staff, teams must perform the balancing act of raising money, managing and allocating funds appropriately, understanding campaign ethics, and convincing the public through “door to door” campaigning. Students participate in a live debate promoting their candidate. Experienced coaches and instructors assist teams throughout the intense competition from beginning to end. The week concludes with a LEAD-wide vote to determine the next governor of Michigan!
The Campaign Track combines attributes from each track, working on legislation like in the HOUSE, changing legislation like the SENATE, arguing with your opponent like MOCK TRIAL, getting asked questions like MOOT COURT, creating a campaign plan like BUSINESS and advertising and interacting with the public like MEDIA! I think this might be my favorite track of all…
Hanniyah C. – LEAD Student
“The Campaign track taught me how to handle particularly stressful situations head on”
Chelsea L. – LEAD Student
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