Students from across Indiana have been participating in Student Leadership Academy (SLA)-Summer this July, with nearly 40 high school students and college-age leaders. This year’s summer academy was offered in two sessions; July 8-14 and July 15-21. 

Theology lectures, vocational workshops, worship, small group conversations, service opportunities and activities throughout the city of Indianapolis have filled their weeks. SLA takes place at the University of Indianapolis with support from a grant through Eli Lilly and in conjunction with INUMC Leadership Development. 

Each day at SLA-Summer students focus on a word that guides all their conversations. On Wednesdays, the group focuses on humility. During worship, Rev. Arionne Williams, the Associate Chaplain of Ecumenical and Interfaith Programs at UIndy, inspired students with a message empowering them to continue to fan into flame the gifts that God has given them. She reminds them that being humble is not thinking less of yourself or playing down who you are because you have been crafted by an amazing God who knows your full potential. She calls students to walk humbly in prayer, listen to their mentors, and seek guidance from God, so that they may realize the impact they can have on the world around them.  

In sharing how students will implement what they have learned when they return home, students excitedly share the ways they will study the Bible, serve as leaders in their churches, and explore how they can inspire change in their communities. Bryan, a student from Ford Street UMC, shared that he learned how to be more social and that he hopes to help other youth who may have experienced some of the hardships he has gone through as he returns home from SLA. The program for the week gives students new challenges in their current leadership, as well as possibilities to consider for their future as they learn more about possible vocations as well as navigate their calling.  

Student Leadership Academy will offer a fall retreat that invites students to engage in meaningful conversations about how they can lead now and in the future. You can learn more at and join us November 16-18, 2018 for another exciting learning experience at the University of Indianapolis in collaboration with the Indiana Conference.