Challenge yourself to lead

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


UPDATE: All Summer 2021 Shelton Challenge Programs have shifted to a VIRTUAL format. 


The virtual Challenge will follow a similar format to the in-person Challenge, focusing on one of the SLC’s core values each day and building throughout the week. We have modified many of activities so that they can be accomplished virtually while also maintaining a consistency to the traditional programming. There will be opportunities for students to explore more about who they are and how they can more effectively work with team members. They will have the chance to think critically about and attempt to solve relevant, real-world problems. It will be engaging, fun, and kinetic while also ensuring students build the skills to become better values-based leaders. We also know that values-based leadership isn’t confined to in-person interactions and we are confident the skills students will learn will benefit them in the future. The virtual programs will take place Monday-Friday, 10am-3pm and cost $300 which includes a Challenge Box with materials to enhance the experience.


We are continuing to place students in slots as they become available and will contact you in the order we received completed applications. Thank you for your patience! 

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. *Summer 2021 programs will be held virtually.

Red Hat Shelton Challenge Dates

June 21-25, 2021 – Virtual
June 28-July 2, 2021 – Virtual
July 12-16, 2021 – Virtual
July 26-30, 2021 – Virtual

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
Cost: $300 Apply

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.

July 12-16, 2021 – Virtual

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
Cost: $300 Apply

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.


Candidates will be notified about a synchronous virtual component in February 2021 for the selection process.

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).


Candidates will be notified about a synchronous virtual component in February 2021 for the selection process.

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.


All new instructors will be required to participate in a phone interview and provide references for consideration.


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:

June 27- July 2, 2021 – NC Wesleyan College, Rocky Mount, NC
Postponed until 2022 – Methodist University, Fayetteville, NC

Thank you to our supporters


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

We would like to thank:

  • Red Hat, Inc.
  • Carolinas Freedom Foundation
  • State Farm Insurance
  • Shelton Challenge Alumni and Friends