The Red Hat Shelton Challenge

Challenge yourself to lead! The Red Hat Shelton Challenge is a six-day, residential program built on the Shelton Leadership Center’s core values – integrity, diversity, social responsibility, and compassion – and is designed to help high school students enhance their capacities to become values-based leaders. This immersive program is designed to transform potential into real-world skills through mentorship, self-reflection, and shared discovery. 


Throughout the Shelton Challenge, students will immerse themselves in daily classroom sessions, where they’ll learn about and develop an array of effective leadership skills essential for leadership roles. These sessions foster dynamic discussions, peer reflection, and mentorship with Challenge Instructors, enhancing their leadership acumen through active engagement.


Students will put their learning into action during engaging, hands-on activities, such as high and low ropes courses, a local community service group project, a culminating graduation ceremony and presentation, and a range of team-building exercises and practical applications. Each day provides an opportunity for students to actively apply what they’ve learned to a variety of activities.


Upon completion of the Shelton Challenge, students will align their personal values with their leadership style, empowering them to effectively lead within their local communities and organizations. Moreover, they’ll gain an understanding of navigating leadership among groups and individuals with differing perspectives.

The program invites emerging leaders to be part of an engaged community for the week and participate in activities designed to teach leadership concepts such as ethical decision-making, civic and social responsibility, effective communication, collaboration, working in diverse teams, and goal setting. Are you up for the Challenge?

students smiling

2024 Red Hat Shelton Challenge Dates

  • Challenge 1: June 9 -14, 2024
  • Challenge 2: June 23-28, 2024
  • Challenge 3: July 14-19, 2024

Already completed the Shelton Challenge? Find More Opportunities

If you’ve successfully completed the Shelton Challenge and seek ongoing leadership development, we have compelling opportunities to support your advancement.

Peer Leader

Join our volunteer staff as a peer leader and lead students through their week at the Shelton Challenge. Learn more and apply.

Take II

If you’re looking to take the Shelton Challenge to the next level, Take II provides a further look at the topics and concepts explored during the Shelton Challenge. Learn more and apply.

back of CMT/PL shirt

Interested in joining our Volunteer Staff at the Shelton Challenge?

If you’re passionate about developing the next generation of leaders, we welcome you to volunteer on our summer staff. We offer a variety of volunteer roles each summer, and even if you haven’t participated in the Shelton Challenge as a student, there’s a place for you on our team!

Other Shelton Challenge Sites

The Shelton Leadership Center partners with communities across North Carolina and beyond to provide this leadership experience to pre-college students. Students who participate at one of these sites receive the same opportunities and experiences they would at the Red Hat Shelton Challenge, though customized for their particular needs and spaces. Partners are trained by Shelton Leadership Center and provided with all the resources to deliver the program at their site. If you are interested in attending a Shelton Challenge at one of our other sites, please visit their websites below:

NC Wesleyan College, Rocky Mount, NC
Methodist University, Fayetteville, NC

Thank you to our supporters and partners

The generous support of many partners makes the Shelton Challenge experience possible!

We would like to thank:

  • Red Hat, Inc.
  • Shelton Challenge Alumni and Friends