Shelton Challenge

Challenge yourself to lead

Shelton Challenge leadership programs are immersive leadership-development experiences for youth and college students.

With a focus on establishing a strong foundation for future generations, the Shelton Leadership Center cultivates tomorrow’s leaders through values-based leadership programs for rising 9th-12th graders. The Challenge focuses on one of the SLC’s core values each day and builds upon each value throughout the week. These hands-on leadership opportunities give students real-world experience that changes their perspectives on themselves and their world.

Shelton Challenge Programs


Red Hat Shelton Challenge

The core curriculum of this six-day summer program is based on General Shelton’s five values related to leadership: honesty, integrity, diversity, social responsibility and compassion. This experience is designed for rising ninth- through twelfth-grade students with a 3.0 unweighted grade-point average. Traditionally, participants live on the campus at NC State University or UNC Charlotte.

Dates for the 2022 Red Hat Shelton Challenge are coming soon.

Students can expect to experience and learn about:

  • Personal leadership assessment
  • Interpersonal dynamics
  • Role of values and ethics in leadership
  • Leadership traits and approaches
  • Teambuilding and empowering others
  • Social responsibility
  • Public speaking
  • Goal-setting


Shelton Challenge Take II

Building upon the foundation set during the first year of the Shelton Challenge program, the Shelton Challenge Take II is ideal for students desiring to deepen their leadership effectiveness. Participants in this six-day summer experience strengthen their skills in conflict resolution, time management, decision-making, and project management. Students are placed in hands-on leadership roles and participate in 360-degree evaluations with mentors.

Students can expect to experience and learn about:

  • Effective team decision-making
  • Strategic visioning and planning
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Public speaking
  • Resource development
  • Self-reflection

Shelton Challenge Staff Applications

Peer Leader (PL) Position

The following requirements are preferred of individuals applying to be a Peer Leader for the 2021 Red Hat Shelton Challenge experience: previously attended the Red Hat Shelton Challenge, 3.0-grade point average (unweighted) or higher, AND one of the following: Going into the eleventh or twelfth grade or attended a Take II Shelton Challenge Program.

Applications will open December 1, 2021.

Coach/Mentor/Trainer (CMT) Position

The following requirements are preferred of individuals applying to volunteer as a Coach/Mentor/Trainer (CMT) during the 2021 Shelton Challenge experience: must be at least a first-year student in college or a graduating high school senior who has served as a Peer Leader for at least two years with the Shelton Challenge, experience working with teams, experience with service-learning and reflection techniques (preferred), experience or desire to work with youth (preferred).

Applications will open December 1, 2021.

Shelton Challenge Intern Position

The Shelton Challenge Interns are a vital part of the Shelton Leadership Center’s Challenge programs. The intern will assist the SLC staff in providing positive, impactful learning experiences to Challenge students and staff. Interns work in conjunction with the full-time office staff to ensure the Challenge programs are planned, implemented, and carried out with a high level of quality. This summer-long, paid internship will allow students to gain experience in leadership, event planning, and administrative skill development. Past Shelton Challenge experience is preferred, but not required.

Applications will open December 1, 2021.

Instructor Position

We are seeking professionals who are motivated to develop personal leadership skills while mentoring youth through their experience of the Red Hat Shelton Challenge. The intent of the Red Hat Shelton Challenge is to provide each student with an enriching, developing leadership experience. Youth will explore areas of values-based leadership, integrity, team building, public speaking, and social responsibility. Students will learn about leadership via instruction, example, and the personal opportunity to lead. It is offered to rising ninth-through twelfth-grade youth with a grade point average of 3.0 or better. All expenses during the week will be paid for on behalf of the Center.

Applications will open December 1, 2021.


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.
  • Carolinas Freedom Foundation
  • State Farm Insurance
  • Shelton Challenge Alumni and Friends