Leadership Challenge Course

Each year, 25 high school students from across Shawnee County come together for a week-long immersive leadership development experience to learn about how they can make their schools, Topeka, and Shawnee County a better place. Help us create a network of young leaders who are eager to build bridges across schools while challenging peers to create positive change.


        The High School Leadership Academy (HSLA) is facilitated by the Washburn University Leadership Institute and focuses on building a network of student leaders across Shawnee County school districts in order to foster awareness about ways students can influence positive change in their communities. HSLA is a week-long immersion leadership camp held at Washburn University each June. Throughout the week, students experience site visits and tours throughout the community, interactive presentations, and guest speakers.

       With a total of 25 high school student participants and 10 college peer mentors spending a week together, building trust and comradery as a team is crucial. The high school students represent most of the Shawnee County high schools, so most students do not know each other before the week of the program. One of the goals for the 2019 High School Leadership Academy is to challenge students and the peer mentors alike to go out of their comfort zones and try new things. Additionally, it has been obvious over the past two years of the program that the relationships the students form throughout this experience are what makes the HSLA so powerful.

Our Need:

       One way the High School Leadership Academy will achieve these goals is by implementing a challenge course experience at the Stone Nature Preserve in Topeka, KS. This experience will practice conflict resolution, communication, problem solving, and team building. Using this experience for the HSLA will allow the students, peer mentors, and Leadership Institute faculty to get to know one another in a deeper, more engaging way and challenge students to practice vulnerability and comradery.

We are seeking support to send all high school participants and college peer mentors through a half-day challenge course experience. The expenses associated with this experience include the cost of the challenge course (approximately $10/person/hour), transportation, and a meal at the challenge course. Our total estimated cost is $2200.00.


Lunch Time Gift Challenge
Can we raise $10,000 between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. CT? Generous philanthropists and friends of Washburn, Ford and Catherine Ross, will donate up to $10,000 for every dollar raised during these two hours.
$10,000 / $10,000 Raised
High School Leadership Academy Challenge
The Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation Board of Trustees will generously match dollar for dollar all High School Leadership Academy Challenge Course donations up to $550.
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Or you can contact us at contactus@wualumni.org.