Logo-SSI_only_300dpi_PNG24Ronald Reagan once said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” When we’re done fighting for our freedom, for the values that we hold dear, and the rights that each of us deserves as human beings and as children of God, who will pick up that torch and carry on the battle? The next generation of leaders are being molded and shaped today and the Student Statesmanship Institute (SSI) is on the forefront of this effort.

SSI hosts three life-transforming weeks of real world leadership training for teens on the campus of Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing, Michigan. Students participate in authentic leadership simulations in the legislative, media, judicial, campaign and business fields under the direction of Christian professionals in each field. During this 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.

These simulations are as real as it gets without actually being the real thing. For example, first and second year students participate in the legislative simulations. At the beginning of the week the students are split into caucuses and assigned bills to fight for and against. They hold caucus meetings and press conferences, participate in committee meetings (chaired oftentimes by actual representatives or senators) in the House Office Building in downtown Lansing, and finally debate the bill on the floor of the House of Representatives at the capitol building. Moot Court students argue case law before a panel of appellate judges at the Hall of Justice. Mock Trial students try court cases at the local courthouse before a judge and a jury of their peers, under the direction of real attorneys. The list goes on.

SSI-2012_Week-1_8x10-Funny Compressed and CroppedStudents often surprise themselves as they work their way through the simulations. The things that they can accomplish are greater than they even knew. SSI calls it “breaking the curse of low expectations.” The teens leave expecting more from themselves and become leaders in their youth groups, schools, communities, states, and nation in ways that they never were previously.

Ronald Reagan also said, “Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation. You will have opportunities beyond anything we’ve ever known.” SSI is making that statement a reality as the leaders of today work to train of the leaders oftomorrow. You can learn more about SSI, register your child for this year’s summer program, or volunteer to help SSI in its efforts by going to SSIonline.org today. SSI provides early registration discounts ending on March 14th so don’t wait!