Close to 1,000 attendees from 2 countries (USA and Australia), 21 states, the territory of Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia converged on the campus of Augustana College in Rock Island, IL for Leadership Lab this summer. I was able to be one of those attendees for the week long camp. Leadership Lab (LL) is a collaborative effort of the 3 Illinois Synods of the ELCA. The mission of LL is “To be an active LABORATORY, practicing church leadership for the future”.
Leadership Lab is designed to teach students leadership skills as they encounter Jesus within the community. The mission is that students will grow in the faith while learning skills they can take back to their churches, schools and communities. There are six unique levels of learning, all designed for high school, young adult and adult ages.
Last year I was able to attend the ELCA National Youth Gathering in Houston, TX. My experience at lab reminded me of the fun times our youth group had together at the Gathering. Every day we gathered in small groups, enjoyed free time on the campus and participated in contemporary worship in the morning and the evening. Coming from a church that practices traditional, liturgical worship this whole contemporary worship thing was a bit of a shock to my system but I enjoyed the music and appreciated a different perspective of worship.
Aside from the daily events my week at Augustana was a really cool way to experience living on my own on a college campus. Every walk I took was like a self-guided campus tour. I was able to use all of the campus facilities. The athletic facilities, classrooms, auditorium, library, coffee shop, book store and my favorite part…the cafeteria. There were so many options for great food. Italian, Asian, American, soups, salad, sandwiches…you name it, they had it. I could see why people are concerned about the dreaded “Freshman 15”.
I had a great time at Lab and enjoyed my experience. I wanted to write this piece for the eNews because I see so many kids at Holy Trinity these days. It’s never too early for them to start thinking about Leadership Lab. Any youth from Holy Trinity going into their freshman year of high school can attend. I wish I had become a “labber” prior to heading into my senior year. The other thing that would have been nice is having other youth from Holy Trinity attend. My hope is that in future years Holy Trinity can send a group of kids to Lab. (Luckily our very own Ken Duckmann has been a Lab volunteer for 20 years so I had a friend around to show me the ropes)