Spirit of Lincoln Youth Leadership Academy
Activities that are part of "The Spirit of Lincoln Youth Leadership Academy" have taken place since, Abraham Lincoln's 204 birthday, February 12, 2103. The goal of this initiative is to inspire area youth, junior high to high school age, with a message of empowerment and hope by presenting the stories of challenges that have been faced and overcome by those who have come before us.
The Academy's goal is to reach students who could most use a positive message of courage and hope. The Academy organizers want the participants to understand that positive life lessons can be found in the past.
Begun in 1956, the Boys and Girls Club of Springfield set out to become the positive place for children in the area. The Boys and Girls Club facility in use today was built in 1960 on an historic piece of property at the intersection of 15th and Monroe Streets. Today, The Boys and Girls Club serves approximately 900 youth, in eleven locations, including our Central Unit, as well as 10 elementary and middle schools throughout the local area. Each day, The Club provides character building activities, academic programs, and healthy activities all geared towards helping The Club members become responsible citizens in our community, live healthy lifestyles, and achieve the success they are capable of.
Frontiers International, Inc., a national, non-profit, nonsectarian service organization, is among the oldest African-American national service organizations in the United States. The organization was founded in 1936, to provide an outlet and opportunity for African American males to collectively give service to their communities through a civic leadership organization that did not discriminate against them as was the custom of other service organizations at that time. One major effort of Frontiers International has been to assist in the development of our youth through Junior Frontier clubs. The importance of attaining a good education is one of the foundational planks upon which the Junior Frontiers clubs are built.
Founded in 2004, The Outlet's goal is to provide young men with a place to plug into something positive. To help young men, ages 12-22, develop the ability and skill to be capable of making responsible life decisions, holding real and meaningful spiritual values, explore their gifts, talents, and realize their dreams and aspirations. The Outlet wants to create a network of support for our youth, not simply by serving them and their families in the home, but also by partnering with communities, local churches in our outreach programs, and by having a presence in the public schools, where our youth spend the majority of their time.
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C., January 9, 1914, by three young African-American male students who wanted to organize a Greek letter fraternity that would truly exemplify the ideals of brotherhood, scholarship, and service. In 1950 Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity became the first Greek organization to develop a youth auxiliary group, the Sigma Beta Club. The Sigma Beta Club offers a unique opportunity to develop values, leadership skills and social/cultural awareness in our youth during their developmental years.
The four programs that have been presented have emphasized past dreams of and struggles for freedom. On February 12 and August 3, 2013, the focus was on slavery, the Underground Railroad and the Civil War. On February 12, 2014, the period following the Civil War through World War II was featured.
The fourth program included a variety of subjects from history to leadership to science. From May 30 - June 1, 2014, the Spirit of Lincoln Youth Leadership Academy presented a Heritage and Science Weekend trip to Lincoln Home National Historic Site and Old State Capitol State Historic Site in Springfield, IL; Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site in St. Louis, MO; Wilson's Creek National Battlefield in Republic, MO; and, George Washington Carver National monument in Diamond, MO. This trip was made possible through the National Park Foundation's Ticket to Ride program.
The Academy programs have included: presentations, Civil War reenacting, films, and a variety of hands on activities. The Academy has taken place at a variety of locations, including, Abundant Faith Christian Center, Springfield Illinois African American History Museum, Old State Capitol State Historic Site, Lincoln Home National Historic Site, and the Boys and Girls Club of Central Illinois.
The success of the Academy to date would not have been possible without the involvement of a variety of partners including, Lincoln Home National Historic Site; The Outlet; Boys and Girls Club of Central Illinois; Old State Capitol State Historic Site; Abraham Lincoln Association; Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area; Springfield African American History Museum; Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity; United States Colored Troops Living History Association; Springfield Frontiers; and, Sangamon & Menard County 4-H. In addition, it is because of the generosity of these partners, with their time and other resources, that the costs for these programs have been minimal.
The first session of the Spirit of Lincoln Youth Leadership Academy, "Come Join us Brothers," was held on February 12, 2013, at Abundant Faith Christian Center. This Academy session introduced the youth to the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, United States Colored Troops, and life a Civil War soldier. In this image, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity brother Larry Hemingway, Sr., moderates a panel discussion on how lessons of history can be implemented into our lives today. Click here for more photos from that event.
The second session of the Spirit of Lincoln Youth Leadership Academy, "Come Join Us Brother II," was held on August 3, 2013, at the Springfield, Illinois African American History Museum; the Old State Capitol State Historic Site; Lincoln Home National Historic Site; and Oak Ridge Cemetery. This Academy session included information about the Civil War and the United States Colored Troops and featured a Civil War encampment, "soldier training" for the youth, a parade through downtown Springfield, and a visit to Civil War graves at Oak Ridge Cemetery. Click here for more photos from that event.
The third session of the Spirit of Lincoln Youth Leadership Academy was held on February 12, 2014, at the Boys and Girls Club of Central Illinois. This Academy session included information on the rights guaranteed to us in the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments that were a legacy of the Civil War. The session also included presentations on Ulysses S. Grant, George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington, and the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II. The day ended with model airplane flight demonstrations.Click here for more photos from that event.
The fourth session of the Spirit of Lincoln Youth Leadership Academy took place from May 30 through June 1, 2014. This "Heritage and Science Weekend" featured visits to historic sites in Illinois and Missouri was made possible through the National Park Foundation's Ticket to Ride program. Click here for more photos from that event.
Please select the following links for more details on the various Spirit of Lincoln Youth Leadership Academy sessions that have been held to date.
August 3, 2103, Spirit of Lincoln Youth Leadership Academy at the Springfield African American History Museum; Old State Capitol State Historic Site; Lincoln Home National Historic Site; and, Oak Ridge Cemetery.