What does it mean to be a servant leader—to seek first to serve? How do you use your gifts to work as part of a team? How do you bring your heart and faith into every aspect of your life? The Colorado Youth Leadership Initiative (COYLI) seeks young people who want to explore their faith more deeply, develop their potential as leaders, and discover how they can make a difference in the world.
COYLI is a multi-year program, during which participants take part in three summer “residencies.” In addition to these summer residencies, throughout the year participants will give and receive support, check in with one another, encourage each other, and prepare for time together using an online forum.
Year 1: The Power of Me
The leadership and spiritual challenge of COYLI begins with a week-long program at The Center at Cathedral Ridge. Youth arrive as individuals at camp and over the course of the week are challenged to think outside themselves, bond as a team, and grow in knowledge that we are better together. Through team and individual challenges, students learn judgement, decision-making skills, and conflict resolution rooted in God and faith and how to apply them with compassion as servant leaders in the world. Team-building, spiritual practice, and exploration are central to the week, with the challenge course providing compelling obstacles and challenges that inspire group development. The week culminates in a student-led servant leadership project for Cathedral Ridge.
Year 2: The Power of We
Youth travel to a developing country, gaining skills in team relational work and using the servant leadership skills developed in Year 1 to people in a new place. Participants continue their leadership and spiritual journey as they experience cultural immersion, relationship building, and servant leadership in real time. This is not about learning to fix or build for others, but learning to join in relationship with people who have much to share. Youth from both cultures work together on projects, beginning to form new connections. They teach their languages to one another, side by side as new friends. These experiences tend to shatter preconceived notions of who we are what the world is. Youth discover what it means to be transformed by the gift of mutual sharing.
Year 3: The Power to Be
In Year 3, COYLI participants travel abroad to journey alongside one another as spiritual pilgrims. This culminating week of COYLI unpacks the power to be, preparing youth for future transitions in their life. It is a time of opening up the big questions of life: Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? Each of these questions leads to the most important question: Whose am I? Youth experience first-hand the challenge of walking a pilgrim’s way that has been walked for more than 1,000 years. Youth begin to realize that making a pilgrimage is much like our journeying through life. They begin seeking deeper meaning beyond themselves and start to discern what God is calling them to do in the world. In 2018, year-three students will walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
The leadership and spiritual challenge of COYLI culminates in year three as youth travel abroad for a pilgrimage. We will explore our Christian heritage, challenge our leadership skills, and make discoveries about what God is calling us to do in the world. In 2018, year-three students will walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
Openings for 2018
There are several openings remaining for the 2018 year. Students should be going into 9th or 10th grade in the fall of 2018. The deadline for applying is June 15. If you are interested, please contact us at Faith@EpiscopalColorado.org.
How to Apply for 2019
Eligible youth are those entering ninth or tenth grade in the fall of 2019.This will allow participants to complete all three years before graduating from high school. For the 2019 year, we will accept up to 12 applicants into the program.
It is our desire and intent that this program be financially accessible to any eligible candidate who wishes to participate.Participants are encouraged to earn money individually and do fundraising projects with the support of their congregations. (A list of fundraising ideas will be provided to all successful applicants.) Scholarship funds are also available from The Episcopal Church in Colorado. Program costs for 2019 are estimated to be $850 (year-one), $2,300 (year-two cultural exchange), and $2,500 (year-three pilgrimage).
Still interested? Take the following steps to apply:
- Tell your rector you’re interested in the Colorado Youth Leadership Initiative, and ask if he/she will write a letter of recommendation for you. Letters need to be submitted by January 31, 2019.
- Once we have received your rector’s letter of recommendation, we will send you an application form. This form asks you to provide information about yourself and to answer several essay questions about your interest in COYLI. In addition, you will need to obtain three letters of reference. Applications and reference letters are due March 31, 2019.
- We will let applicants know if they have been accepted by April 12, 2019, at which time they will be asked to register for year-one camp and encouraged to begin fundraising. Year-one camp will take place in July 2019.
This is an exciting opportunity for young people across Colorado, and we hope you will choose to apply!