Central Leaders School History

It all started

in the Early 1880’s…

Mr. Robert J. Roberts, a young YMCA Physical Director in Boston, is credited with creating what is presently the Leaders Club Program. Mr. Roberts was known as an expert gymnast and a stimulating teacher who believed that all exercises should be short, safe, easy, beneficial and pleasing. Mr. Roberts’ exercise classes quickly grew to such extremes that he needed to recruit and train a number of helpers to assist him. An idea surfaced that would become a YMCA tradition.

Luther H. Gulick, the YMCA Director responsible for developing the triangle concept of Spirit, Mind and Body, and the emblem synonymous with it, took Robert’s concept further by developing and refining its basic structure. Gulick strongly believed that a Leaders Club should not be limited to the advantages which such a group provided the local YMCA.

He developed and popularized the educational and spiritual opportunities that the program could afford to the volunteer leader himself. He maintained the original YMCA goal of spiritual enrichment while mixing into the fabric of the program both educational and physical development. These objectives, as well as social adjustment, have remained paramount in Leaders Club programming to this very day. The training of our young volunteers to assist the YMCA director make programs more effective and of higher quality, while developing the leadership qualities of the volunteers themselves and making them more productive and valuable to the society they live in, are the basic concepts that inspired the birth of the Leaders Club Program.

The Leaders Club program is over 110 years old. During its first century, it has gone through many changes and many stages, but its basic ideals have survived to this day. Robert’s concept of better instruction for YMCA members through trained volunteers is still at the central core of the Leaders Club program. And Gulick’s vision that a Leaders Club Program could be just as beneficial to the club’s members as to the ‘Y’ Members it serves, is alive and very much at the center of the program today.

Alumni Say

I wouldn’t be who I am today without leaders. The joy I felt serving the community as a leader drew me toward nonprofits and helping others help their communities. The skills I learned while in the program still serve me today and my ability to run meetings and work with others comes directly from leaders.

Brandon Reed

Objectives of Central Leaders School

The YMCA is for Youth Development. The purpose of YMCA Central Leaders School is to provide meaningful training in leadership and fellowship for the growth and well being of all participants. We accomplish this by helping Leaders achieve the following:

  • To gain insight into how classes and programs in the YMCA function.

  • To gain and develop self-confidence, self-respect, and self-worth through positive interaction with others.

  • To learn the role of the YMCA movement in today’s society.

  • To develop, clarify, and strengthen personal values.

  • To encourage individual commitment to spiritual, mental, and physical health.

  • To come to learn, and return to serve.

  • To cherish all of the YMCA core values: “Caring, Honesty, Respect, and Responsibility.”



Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vestibulum porttitor velit odio, sit amet auctor nibh vulputate ut. Morbi eget justo sit amet enim congue consectetur et at magna. Cras sed diam sit amet quam gravida faucibus. Sed eu lacus blandit, ullamcorper massa et, porttitor tellus. Aliquam venenatis maximus ante, eu efficitur turpis gravida a. Maecenas nec eleifend enim. Quisque rhoncus odio condimentum facilisis varius. Etiam fringilla, turpis ac euismod pulvinar, neque metus viverra sem, et aliquam elit urna ac est. Nam a leo in eros semper posuere.

Quisque a tellus magna. Sed vestibulum, leo in feugiat faucibus, augue magna semper eros, at convallis mi ante et massa. Etiam varius faucibus rhoncus. Nam non massa ac magna euismod egestas. Proin ac velit non orci ultricies auctor. Mauris convallis sed purus ac finibus. Quisque vestibulum lobortis nulla, quis aliquam lorem vestibulum sit amet. Integer egestas neque velit, sit amet eleifend elit mollis eu.

Past Officers and Themes

Each year, the student body at Central Leaders School elects a President and a Vice President to represent them and plan next years theme, events and classes. Being elected by a group of peers is a great responsibility and their service and leadership to the school and their peers is recognized below.

Year Theme Location President Vice-President School Directors


(R)evolution Illinois College Blu Bray Bambiiee Houston Jason Rehfeldt/Dan Schulze
2016 Acceptance Illinois College Alpha Spagner Phallen Briggs Jason Rehfeldt/Dan Schulze
2015 Growth Illinois College Alpha Spagner Jonathan Aguilar Jason Rehfeldt/Dan Schulze
2014 Keep Calm & Lead On Illinois College Rachel Knighten N/A Jason Rehfeldt/Dan Schulze
2013 LeaderStrong Illinois College Adam Jackson Caneese Kinnie Greg Hanks/Dan Schulze
2012 Be the Leader You Want 2 See in Others Illinois College Tyrone Reynolds Lataesha Kinnie Greg Hanks/Dan Schulze
2011 Life Is A Dance Illinois College Alimasi Kajunju Hanifah Abdul-Wahid Greg Hanks/Dan Schulze
2010 Vision Illinois College Brittany Held Graham Merz Greg Hanks/Dan Schulze
2009 Yes I Can Illinois College Alicia Arnold Lauren Reed Greg Hanks/Brian Hubbard
2008 Who Am I Illinois College Brandon Reed Tommy Murphy Greg Hanks/Brian Hubbard
2007 Love Illinois College Caitlyn Wood Lauren Reed Greg Hanks/Brian Hubbard
2006 Diversity Illinois College Nick Kaldunksi Stacey Field Greg Hanks/Brian Hubbard
2005 Unity Illinois College Megan Murphy Shari Cohen Greg Hanks/Brian Hubbard
2004 Dreams Illinois College Andrew Matias Padao Yang Greg Hanks/Brian Hubbard
2003 Leader MacMurray College Lori Durako Bridget Frischer Greg Hanks/Brian Hubbard
2002 Passions Illinois College Tom Hughes N/A Greg Hanks/Joe CasaSanta
2001 Emotion Illinois College Elliot Pennington Bryan Pennington Greg Hanks/Joe CasaSanta
2000 Memory Illinois College Chrissy Bartek Matt King Greg Hanks/Joe CasaSanta
1999 Changes Illinois College Lisa Piccolino Magi Wangler Greg Hanks/Joe CasaSanta
1998 Journey Illinois College Anna Madden Noah Madden Greg Hanks/Joe CasaSanta
1997 Harmony Illinois College Carlos Rodriguez Jesse Gomez Greg Hanks/Joe CasaSanta
1996 Imagine Illinois College Andy Bartek Melissa Bachhuber Greg Hanks/Joe CasaSanta
1995 Timeless Illinois College Gary Mitchell Michelle Douty Greg Hanks/Joe CasaSanta
1994 Kaleidoscope Generation Illinois College Sara Brody Tricia Amunson Greg Hanks/Erica Barton
1993 Today is Tomorrow’s Memories Illinois College Eric Eaton John Janda Greg Hanks/Erica Barton
1992 Believe Illinois College Kevin Heye Becca Lowe Greg Hanks/Erica Barton
1991 U R U Illinois College Kevin McBride Kevin Heye Greg Hanks/Linda Moore
1990 Challenge of the Future Illinois College Brandon Washington Scott Bressler Greg Hanks/Lynn Mickovich
1989 Beyond Your Horizons Wartburg College Brian Hubbard Holly Allender Nancy Battersby
1988 One Of A Kind Luther College Will Denault Joan Clarke Nancy Battersby
1987 Show Your True Colors Luther College Steve Wild Aaron Pogue Nancy Battersby
1986 Magic Luther College Cindy Sheldon Renae Schuller Nancy Battersby
1985 Friends Forever Luther College Nancy Battersby
1984 Wholeness of Spirit Luther College Jeff Ottaviano

Ceremonies and Traditions

Dan Schulze

School Director

Jason Rehfeldt

School Director

Section Header