Future Presidents of America

Join the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and a dynamic cohort of alumni for our 3rd annual Future Presidents of American Youth Leadership Camp! Future Presidents of America is an innovative and engaging youth leadership camp with a mission to develop individual confidence, civic literacy, and good citizenship to reveal the exceptional qualities of character that make for great presidents and great leaders. The program is specifically designed for 13- to 16-year-old students and hopes to:

  • Expand knowledge on the characteristics of a good citizen and identify opportunities for current and future civic engagement.
  • Explore key leadership qualities and learn how to apply them to real-world tasks.
  • Gain and build confidence in personal skills such as public speaking, critical thinking, and personal expression.
  • Investigate how rights and citizenship have evolved over the years through the lens of the Presidency.
  • Engage local civic leaders and peers to solve real-world problems within our communities.

Using the Constitution of the United States, President Abraham Lincoln, and the tenets of civic discourse as lenses of focus, this week-long camp encourages participants to take a panoramic view of issues relevant to leaders, while immersing them in the amazing stories of real people making real choices that impacted the lives of millions.

Limited to twenty young leaders, this camp will focus on the qualities that make for great presidents—yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

To learn more about Future Presidents of America and apply, click on the questions below.

 Am I eligible?

To apply to participate in the ALPLM’s Future Presidents of America Youth Leadership Camp, you must:

  • Be between 13 to 16 years old on June 1, 2024
  • Be able to participate in camp activities from June 10-14, 2024, from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
  • Live in one of the following Illinois counties:
    • Sangamon
    • Cass
    • Christian
    • Logan
    • Macon
    • Macoupin
    • Menard
    • Montgomery
    • Morgan

If you are not eligible to apply for the ALPLM’s Future Presidents of America Camp, there are two other options you may want to consider.

 Why should I apply?

Future Presidents of America provides a dynamic and inspiring opportunity for you to engage with peers, learn new skills, share your thoughts and opinions, and engage in problem-solving that could change our communities.

While we think everything about the camp is pretty cool, highlights of the week include:

  • A formal Etiquette Luncheon
  • Hands-on activities, fun games, and team-building activities to help develop strong ties to your peers
  • The opportunity to engage state legislators, community leaders, and local businessmen and women
  • Field trips to the Old State Capitol and Oak Ridge Cemetery
  • An alumni reception with former camp participants
  • Instruction and practice in public speaking
  • Lively discussions around key civic-based topics
  • Historian-facilitated tours of the museum and an artifact show-and-tell
  • A formal reception with your parents and peers to celebrate your achievements during the week

If you’re still not sure, check out what our past Future Presidents and their parents/guardians have said about the camp!

“[My most valuable takeaways were] learning to argue effectively, how to achieve greatness on your own terms, and to never be afraid to network. You guys did AMAZING! The staff was so welcoming I enjoyed the experience overall!” – Passion H., Student

“This was probably one of the best summer camp experiences I’ve had.” – Marc Q., Student

“At first, I was nervous about the camp not knowing what to expect or what we would be taking part in, but…the camp was super engaging and fun. I loved connecting with other people who have the same passions as me…My most valuable takeaway from the camp was really connecting with others and learning how to argue in a professional way….I wish the camp didn't have to come to an end as I enjoyed greatly!” – Malina D., Student

“It was a fast week that left my child wishing there was more. The community engagement, encouragement to work alongside peers, and the hands-on historical lessons were all incredible experiences.” – Kathryn G., Parent

“It exceeded my expectations. I was afraid [my child] would be a bit intimidated, but he ended up having a great time, and came out of it wanting to work on his public speaking skills more. It was really great…I think [he] came out of the camp with a real boost in his self-confidence, which is great for a middle schooler. I think he is more confident that he can do things that seem difficult.” – Elise R., Parent 

 What do the adults in my life need to know?

Future Presidents of America Youth Leadership Camp takes place on the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s Campus in the Library’s Multipurpose Room. The camp will run from June 10-14, 2024. Each day begins at 9:00 AM and ends at 4:30 PM, however, staff will be on site for 30 minutes prior to the start and end times to facilitate drop-off schedules. While we understand the unexpected may arise and will work with you, the expectation is that, if your child is selected, they will be present for all camp sessions.

If your child is selected to attend, they will receive a full scholarship to attend the camp ($500 value); this covers all educational materials and meals, including breakfast and lunch, provided during the week. There is not a formal dress code, however, participants will meet with local leaders and state legislators, so we recommend they dress accordingly. We will ask them to dress up on Wednesday for the Etiquette Luncheon and to wear the polo shirt we provide on Friday.

Applications are due on May 10, 2024. They will be reviewed by a team and ranked using a rubric. All students will be notified of their acceptance status no later than May 17, 2024. For those who are selected, some additional paperwork will be required.

If, after your child submits their application plans change and they will no longer be able to attend, please notify us by emailing ALPLM.Education@illinois.gov.

 I'm in! What's next?

Applications for this years’ camp are available now, and the deadline to apply is May 10, 2024. To complete the application, we will ask you:

  • To share biographical information (name, address, school, etc.)
  • To respond to four short-answer questions to help us get to know you
  • To provide the names, emails, and phone numbers of three references who will speak to your fit for the camp
  • To have your parents complete a section sharing their information and giving permissions

To access the application, click the link below.

If you have any issues completing the application online, please email the Education team at ALPLM.Education@illinois.gov and we’ll work with you to ensure you can apply.



Please email the Education Department at ALPLM.Education@illinois.gov or call Abigail Bussey, our Education Coordinator, at 217-782-2981.

Meet Our Partners

The Future Presidents of America program was conceived, developed, and designed by the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site (BHPS). The ALPLM’s Future Presidents of America camp is offered in partnership with them through a shared use agreement. Participate in the program join a national cohort of students who have completed the camp at BHPS, ALPLM, and Andrew Jackson’s The Hermitage.

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