IDEALS Leadership School

Scroll down to for an overview of the Leadership School
Click here to learn more and apply for the
2024 IDEALS Leadership School

This program is designed to work with high school athletes during their junior year who are varsity athletes, male/ female, and all sports. The students must meet certain academic standards and their coach and administration feel they have leadership potential. The students are required to write an essay on why they want to attend IDEALS and why there is a need for athletes to be positive role models.The IDEALS Leadership School focuses on a group that we feel are being neglected. There are countless programs currently concentrating on the “at risk” community. These organizations/programs serve a great need and the leadership of the IDEALS Foundation wholeheartedly endorses these programs. However, there is another “at risk” group that is not being properly addressed. This is the group IDEALS decided to target. This group consists of young student athletes that show leadership potential and through their leadership will influence countless other young people. This group needs to receive the proper training and mentoring to be able to develop that potential into effective leadership skills and influence. This group of leaders can then influence in an exponential manner those who look up to them and want to emulate their behavior.IDEALS made the decision to focus on high school junior student athletes for several reasons. At their age, they are more moldable as compared to college and professional athletes. This group also has the opportunity to demonstrate their enhanced leadership influence during their senior year thus benefiting both their teams and respective schools. This provides an incentive for both the coach and school to get their student athletes involved in the program.Students are not charged a fee to attend so that no deserving young person is turned away for financial reasons.In 1993 the first IDEALS Leadership School was kicked off with 24 high school student athletes. We met for eight Sunday evenings, providing a meal each week. The initial curriculum dealt with leadership, time management, communication styles, public speaking, etiquette, principles of money management and accountability. Today we average 40 to 45 athletes per class and have continued to enhance our curriculum (see curriculum).


  • Goal Setting – setting goals in the key areas of your life, not being discouraged by obstacles
  • Public Speaking – training to develop confidence and effectiveness when speaking in front of a group
  • Next Level Leadership – how to take your leadership and the team’s performance to the next level
  • Principles of Money Management – developing a plan, budget, discipline, debt, interest, giving, etc.
  • Communication – four different ways people think and communicate and how to relate to each
  • Decision Making – creating a model / process to help make better decisions
  • Etiquette – proper techniques for meeting people and clarity as to how to be comfortable in a formal dining setting
  • Creating your “I Believe” list – developing the principles, values and beliefs that will form who you are and how you conduct your life
  • Time Management – learning how to control your time and prioritize activities
  • Team Dynamics – understanding the key principles necessary to create team chemistry and optimize performance
  • Teamwork – developing the trust, execution, accountability and “mission over me” mindset needed to create a successful team

Each class may also have one or two guest speakers who will share a special message with the class.

Each topic is presented by a volunteer instructor and IDEALS is given the rights to use their material if the material was not originally developed by IDEALS. Each weekly meeting consists of two topics followed by discussion and application techniques. Public Speaking application carries over to multiple sessions.

Each Leadership School consists of eight weeks and is held on Sunday evenings from 5:00 – 8:30 PM. A full meal is provided each week for the participants.

Leadership School Agenda

5:00 – 5:15   Review previous week and social time
5:15 – 6:15    Speaker I (breakout discussion / activities)
6:15 – 6:30   Break and social time
6:30 – 7:00  Dinner
7:00 – 8:00  Speaker II (breakout discussion / activities)
8:00 – 8:10  Break
8:10 – 8:30  General Discussion



Here's What IDEALS Alumni Have to Say About the IDEALS Leadership School

At first, I wasn’t sure I wanted to do this, but after the first week I knew this would be good for me. I came home from IDEALS each week eager to share with my parents the ideas I learned and how they will help me throughout my life. I have made so many new friends as well. IDEALS is life changing. I am so sad it is coming to an end.

Lauren Dobbs – Mill Creek

IDEALS was an amazing experience for me. If I could attend this class every Sunday, I would. I met so many new people that are now my friends. I learned tons of useful life information that I needed to know. I also ate good every Sunday and I will miss those meal tremendously. Being a part of IDEALS has made such a positive impact on my life and I loved every minute of it.

Baylyn Dyer – Peachtree Ridge

I have been transformed as an individual and introduced to the power of having core values and purpose within your life. IDEALS also taught me priceless lessons on how to be a better teammate, friend, daughter, as well as, a leader. This is not like ANY other leadership class or position I have ever been involved in. The stuff you learn in IDEALS is immediately applicable and truly has the capability to transform you individually as well as, your team. The three and a half hours each Sunday is SO, SO worth it!

Emilee Akins - Buford

IDEALS was something I looked forward to every Sunday. I loved meeting the new people and making new friends each week, especially with athletes from the area. Jack taught me so many life changing lessons that I can use both on and off the court. As a leader on my team, these lessons will stick with me  throughout my life. You’re surrounded by junior athletes who support each other. There is nobody more caring and supportive than Jack. He wants you to succeed and bring his lessons into your life.

Jillian Bretz – Forsyth Central

It was a great learning opportunity for me as an individual and as a leader of my team. I enjoyed every lesson because it gave me lessons that I can use for the rest of my life. I also enjoyed getting to know the other students and formed valuable relationships with other like-minded people. IDEALS was so worth the investment of time and was an amazing opportunity.

Ella Williams – Mill Creek

I was so glad to be able to get to learn so many things no one else in my school got to learn. It allows me to differentiate myself from others in a positive way. Every lesson was extremely useful, and the guest speakers were very interesting. You get to learn from their experiences and mistakes. Also, the food was amazing!

Holland Moon – Forsyth Central