Office of Student Leadership and Engagement

Leadershape 2015 Session logo

We are excited to announce that LeaderShape®, in partnership with The University of North Carolina Wilmington and Appalachian State University, will host a session of the Institute™ in March 2016!

The Institute challenges participants to lead with integrity while working towards a vision grounded in their deepest values. The program content of the Institute reflects key leadership issues of vision, partnerships, integrity, and results. In addition, all participants leave the Institute with a "LeaderShape Breakthrough Blueprint." The LeaderShape Breakthrough Blueprint is a well-conceived vision and plan of action for the participants to implement in their organization, community, or workplace.

As well as being an opportunity to develop skills to improve their organizations, participants praise the Institute as a time of great introspection. The week is structured so that participants first gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their own strengths and weaknesses, ultimately enabling them to be more effective leaders in their organizations. One of our recent participants summarized the experience the following way:

"Personal insights have had the most effect on me. It's really hard to nail down, but I learned to think bigger, that I have a responsibility to lead, that there is strength in diversity, and that I can make a difference..."

Specifics of the program include: a Team Challenge Course (a half-day outdoor team-building experience); an evening with a Guest Leader Forum in which participants are exposed to "real world" role models in business, industry, and the professions; quality facilitators from a variety of backgrounds; and learning and sharing in small groups called "Family Clusters."

You can learn more about the Leadershape® Institute by visiting their website or checking out their YouTube channel.

The Institute will be hosted for 70 select UNCW and App State students at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, NC during Spring Break, March 7-12, 2016.

Applications are now being accepted.

Click here to apply for the 2016 Institute, Mountains to Sea!

Meet four UNCW students who experienced Leadershape at a 2014 Summer National Session in Atlanta, GA!

Vanessa Kopp"I am so thankful for the time I spent with my UNCW peers and collegiate students from across the country. The opportunity to share ideas and encourage one another has profoundly impacted me as a student, leader, and individual. The LeaderShape community is a community founded in integrity, vision, and action. These components helped me to create a vision for social justice through a tangible and very possible plan. I will carry with me the knowledge I gained from that short week as I move forward to impact our world." - Vanessa Kopp

Dorian Newkirt"LeaderShape has both humbled me and given me the utmost confidence. It is humbling in that you are there with so many others doing the same or better things than you. And it gives you confidence to believe that you can do literally anything you set your mind to do. You'll make some of your best friends in those short, but long, 6 days. You will laugh with them, cry with them, and change the world with them. It was the most fun and eye-opening 6 days of my life thus far!" - Dorian Newkirt

Cassie Radcliffe"The week I spent at The LeaderShape Institute is by far one of the best experiences I've had and has shown me many ways to not only lead myself but to help others find their potential in leading. It's truly a once in a lifetime opportunity, making friends with a unique group of individuals and the concepts we learned made the week more than worth it. I am excited for this new year and to bring what I've learned not only to my campus but to every organization I'm part of!" - Cassie Radcliffe

Brian Piccirilli"The LeaderShape Institute was one of the most eye opening experiences of my life. I learned who I am and I meet people with so much heart and integrity that I know the future is bright for our generation. Thank you so much LeaderShape for allowing me to understand my full potential! And to all of the people who I met along the way, I love you endlessly, thank you for having such a positive impact on my life. For those of you who are thinking of going in the future, you will not be disappointed, I guarantee that!"- Brian Piccirilli

UNCW LeaderShape FAQs

What is LeaderShape and the Institute?

LeaderShape is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating a community of individuals who want to work to make the world a more just, caring, and thriving place to live. LeaderShape builds this community by offering 3 different programs. Catalyst, the Institute, and Resilience all provide opportunities in which people can develop their own abilities and understanding of what it takes to create a just, caring, thriving world and each program encourages participants to live in possibility. We want to live in possibility and, by doing so, lead others to do the same. In other words… to lead, live. LeaderShape programs support people in their life pursuits and encourage them to make an impact by the way they live their lives.

Since its inception in 1986 the Institute℠, has developed an international reputation as one of the premier leadership development programs for young adults. More than 60,000 young people from colleges, universities, corporations, and organizations across the United States and around the world have graduated from the program.

Over 90 college and university campuses host a session of The LeaderShape Institute each year, including the majority of institutions in North Carolina. You can find out more about the national LeaderShape® organization from their website (, blog (, facebook (, or twitter (

How do I apply to participate in The LeaderShape Institute®?

Applications will become available in early November. Applications will be available via the UNCW Leadershape webpage. All applications must be submitted online.

What kind of topics/sessions are included?

The LeaderShape Institute® is an exhilarating and exhausting experience. It is an Institute, and not a conference, meaning every participant and facilitator goes through all of the same sessions and programs together. There are early mornings (8:30 a.m.) as well as late nights (11 p.m.) of activities and bonding with fellow participants. Specifics of the program include a team challenge course (half-day, low-ropes teambuilding experience), an evening with a Guest Leader Forum in which participants are exposed to "real world" role models, quality facilitators from a variety of backgrounds, and interactive small group meetings.

When is The LeaderShape Institute® and where is it located?

The LeaderShape Institute® will be held March 7-12, 2016, at the Blue Ridge Assembly. Participants must be available for the entirety of the Institute and must stay on site for the duration.

Who should apply for The LeaderShape Institute®?

Anyone interested in leadership should apply. We are looking for students from a variety of backgrounds, with a variety of leadership experiences, and at a variety of student classifications (first year through graduate students). LeaderShape® is open to any student interested in producing extraordinary results in a community while also developing a commitment to lead with integrity.

UNCW will select up to 35 students to participate in the 2015 LeaderShape Institute.

What happens if I'm accepted?

Applicants will be notified of their status in January. Participants selected will attend a mandatory orientation in the spring to get more information and to meet their fellow participants. Participants will be responsible for transporting themselves to Fort Caswell on March 9th by 1pm and remain on site for the duration of the program, which concludes about noon on March 14th. If transportation is an issue for anyone, our office can coordinate carpooling. Also, The LeaderShape Institute® is a substance-free program. All participants will be asked to adhere to that standard.

Is there a charge to participate?

The LeaderShape Institute® does include a slight cost of $75 for the week. This includes meals, overnight accommodations, curriculum, t-shirts, and more! The fee equates to $12.50 per day, which we hope you believe is a fantastic deal! Participants will also be asked to submit a Commitment Form signifying their commitment to attend since slots are limited and the university is paying a significant amount to host this program. However, since we want this opportunity to be open to everyone, if the cost seems prohibitive of application or attendance, please talk to the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement (910.962.3877) about potential scholarship opportunities.