AIL 2019 helps 12 students learn what it means to be a leader who follows Christ

Twelve high school students were chosen to participate in this year’s Adventures in Leadership [AIL] from June 15-22. AIL is an intense week of leadership development at Adventurous Christians on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

Students spend the first part of the week at AC learning crucial camping skills as well as what it means to be a leader who follows Christ. They spend time exploring how they’re wired to lead and what it means to be a servant leader, then put that knowledge into action out on the trail in the Boundary Waters.

Throughout the week, they are leading and reflecting on their experience with guides and their peers. For example, Jasmine from Brookdale Covenant, wrote in her reflection, “I learned that there are different kinds of leaders and you don’t have to try and be like everyone else. I also learned about my own strengths and weaknesses.”

Christian from the Covenant Church in Bemidji offered this perspective: “I like how AIL not only teaches us about leadership but lets us put what we learn into practice.”

This year students had a front-row experience of observing leadership in the midst of a crisis. They had just arrived back at camp from their trip and were cleaning their gear when a fire broke out in the AC sauna. They watched as the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department swarmed in from the surrounding area to deal with the fire and kept it to just a loss of the building and nothing more.

Jon Kramka, NWC Director of Congregational Vitality, observed, “It could have been so much worse, and I was so proud of how our AIL students responded during this crisis. This brought the ‘adventure’ element of this years’ experience to a whole new level.”

As a follow-up to the AIL experience, there is a leadership challenge extended to student’s home church: partner with the student to make sure they are growing in their leadership abilities over the next year. Each student’s home church receives an evaluation of the student’s experience from the AIL staff, as well as ways for the church to engage each student further in leadership learning and experiences. They are also given support materials to assist them with this process.

Precious, an AIL student from Community Covenant, summed it up well, saying, “AIL went beyond my expectations because it really mapped out what it means to be a leader.”

Applications for next year’s Adventures in Leadership will be available in early February 2020.