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How An Outdoor Classroom in Northern New Jersey is Training the Next Generation of Leaders


For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.” – Proverbs 11:14

Leadership. It’s a highly valued commodity, especially in today’s world, but what is really being done to cultivate it? We look at our military as creating leaders. In colleges, leaders are developed, but oftentimes they’re thrown into a position based on popularity or willingness instead of proven attributes. We elect leaders. We work for leaders. We want better leaders. But what are we doing about developing leaders for tomorrow?

Where is leadership taught in high school? Biblical leadership should be a foundational element in the curriculum throughout a Christian school, however, it’s rare to see a dedicated course where the goal is to teach teenagers the fundamentals of what it takes to lead others.

This fall, Veritas Christian Academy (Sparta, NJ) has introduced a new outdoor leadership course, GoLeader1, that uses the outdoors as a classroom. The course is designed to equip emerging young leaders with the personal skills, character, faith and fortitude necessary to lead a group of people regardless of the circumstances.

GoLeader1 was born out of a God-given burden placed on the heart of Tom Argersinger, a life-long educator who has worked in urban, suburban, and rural areas, and is the newly-appointed principal at Veritas.

“These experiences throughout my thirty plus years of education and helping with missions convinced me that our world desperately needs leaders of faith, skill and proven character — leaders who will take the initiative to inspire & influence people toward true success,” said Argersinger.

While new to Northern New Jersey, the GoLeader1 program has been part of Argersinger’s curriculum as an educator since 2006. This fall, GoLeader1: Basic Level is being taught at Veritas Christian Academy. The course uses mission-driven sessions in the outdoors to develop key practical skills in leading small teams, including how to use healthy, clear and concise interpersonal communication; acting with a strong inner compass of character; and applying innovative solutions to real world challenges.

Go Leader 1: Basic Level is taught two days a week, and strategically placed in the Veritas curriculum as a foundation for a growing emphasis at the school on rigorous academics taught from a worldview based on timeless truth, values and virtues, deep spiritual formation, and real world leadership.

“Our long-term desire is to expand the GoLeader1 Program to include part-time students from Sussex and the surrounding counties, so that more and more students are prepared to answer the call to lead in a chaotic world,” remarked Argersinger. “The program has been designed to offer basic, intermediate and senior leader levels so that students can hone their leadership techniques as they progress.”

For more information on the GoLeader1 program or Veritas Christian Academy, visit veritasnj.org.