Leadership Program

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Outdoor Leadership Institute

We are searching for four crews of 8-10 rising 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grade students from diverse backgrounds to come together to build leadership, unity and community involvement through service.

The summer institute centers on a 5-day backpacking trip, during which crew members learn, through challenges, how to strengthen their leadership and teamwork skills. The program design includes experiences that will help shape knowledgeable, multicultural leaders who engage with the social needs of Richmond through service learning.

Boys’ Crew 1 - July 9th - 20th (Wilderness: July 13th - 17th)

Boys’ Crew 2 - July 23rd - August 3rd (Wilderness: July 27th - 31st)

Girls’ Crew 1 -  July 2nd - 13th (Wilderness: July 6th - 10th)

Girls’ Crew 2 - July 30th - August 10th (Wilderness: August 3rd - 7th)

All crews: One Saturday each month from September to June

After completing the summer portion of OLI, we will meet one Saturday each month during the school year where crew members can apply their new skills throughout Richmond by engaging in meaningful community service together.

Do you know a student who wants to explore his or her leadership potential? Hit the “Nominate a Student” button or e-mail our OLI Program Manager, Dustin Parks, to start the process!

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Can Nominate Students?

Nominations most often come from teachers, youth organization professionals, mentors, counselors, and alumni of the program. However, any adult may nominate a student or students to our program.

Whom Are We Hoping Will Join the OLI Program?

Rising 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders who are:

● Open to new and challenging experiences

● Wanting to grow in leadership in their community

● Wanting to meet other youth from Richmond

● Able to commit to the program dates

What Are the Benefits of the Program?

● Develop as a leader and learn how to overcome challenges

● Build a multicultural team, and practice effective communication skills

● Summit the highest peak in Virginia

● Learn outdoor adventuring skills

● Add to college and professional resumes

● Gain community service hours

How Do I Nominate Someone?

You can nominate online by clicking the blue button & filling out our online submission form. If you have any questions about that or need to request a paper copy, please reach out to our Program Manager, Dustin Parks.

What Happens Next?

After a nomination has been submitted, the nominee will receive a letter with more information about the program. The nominee will be asked to fill out a short application and then schedule a time for a brief interview with our staff. If accepted, the student will receive materials for the program in the Spring and will be invited to attend an informational session in May.

When Is the Deadline for Nominations?

The deadline is March 31st, 2019.

If My Student Has Already Been Accepted, How Do I Pay the Program Fee?

All program fees are assessed based on a sliding scale. Ultimately, it's up to the family to decide what they are able to contribute to the program. If there are any questions about those amounts, please contact our Program Manager, Dustin Parks

You are welcome to pay by cash or check made out to "Blue Sky Fund." If you would like to pay online, click the button below to access our program fee page.

Check out photos of the OLI program from previous years!