The Southwest Iowa Leadership Academy serves seven area middle schools in West Pottawattamie County, Iowa. Established in 1989 the mission of this organization is to provide emerging leaders with skills that will engage their abilities to make a difference in their schools and communities. It focuses on team building, communication, leadership styles, problem-solving and goal setting over the course of a four-day camp held in June.
Each school group is selected through an application process which includes an application, letters of recommendation, and an interview. Student numbers are determined by a percentage of the total student population for that school’s seventh grade class.
Support from the Shopko Foundation allows the Academy to take the students off campus to service learning projects, which help build leadership skills. It also allows them to purchase the Real Colors of Leadership style inventory for every student, which is a fun, integrative workshop to help understand human behavior:
The students walk away with a new awareness of what it means to be a leader and to be a servant leader. They have identified their current leadership style and how to work together as a team to solve problems. They are better communicators when the leave camp and have set goals for themselves and as a school group for the coming year and beyond!