Ages 15 - 22

By Invitation Only

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Talisman’s Leadership program is for returning teen and young adult campers who have completed a Teen Adventure or Young Adult session (this is a requirement for acceptance into this program), and who are ready to consider the needs of others, both as a leader and a follower. The program consists of a self-directed wilderness trip and an on-campus leadership training course. The group functions on their own with guidance from staff, learning important leadership skills and roles. The Leadership program is a place to fine-tune and build on the social, communication, and peer group skills that these young people have learned throughout their time at Talisman. Participants serve as leaders within the camp community and learn how to transfer these skills to their home communities.

Note: Successful completion of a Leadership course is required for campers who wish to be Talisman Krewe.

Personal Growth

Leadership participants have already proven themselves to be good role models to their fellow campers in one of our other programs, and have experienced a Talisman wilderness trip.  They are motivated to become active leaders among their peers, both at camp and at home.  They do not display challenging behaviors and are competent in resolving conflicts.  They are ready for the next step: empathizing with others, putting the needs of others in front of their own needs, and taking on responsibilities which affect not just themselves but the whole group as well.  In this program, the campers take the lead, with plenty of guidance from the staff.  They lead goal-setting and problem-solving groups, set the daily and weekly schedule, plan and carry out their multi-day trip, and learn how to give supportive feedback to each other.  They also take on leadership roles in camp, assisting staff with special events and sometimes shadowing them in a younger-camper group.  Participants report emerging with greater self-confidence and awareness of those around them.


Leadership begins with some interactive lessons about leadership basics – and how to be a good follower as well.  Group members take turns being the Leader of the Day for their group.  They demonstrate their wilderness skill abilities, and then plan their trip, based on past experiences at Talisman and staff suggestions.  They learn to read maps, estimate appropriate distances, calculate how much food to pack, and make a list of equipment needed.  Staff take on a background role, ready to step in if needed, but otherwise allowing the group to move itself.  Back at camp, participants split up to assist in various areas of the main camp, perhaps running games at Carnival Day or helping a group pack for a trip, or teaching a game to younger kids.  Leadership members have a bit more freedom than other campers, as they learn the benefits of greater responsibility and trustworthiness.