Step Up Leadership Development

March 7, 2019 -or- March 14, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Gustavus is excited to offer a leadership development resource for high school youth who are in grades 9, 10 or 11. STEP UP is a day-long experience that will introduce youth to college-level concepts of leadership and help them develop a stronger personal plan for continuing to grow as a leader. The day will include three seminars focused on actively engaging students as they learn valuable skills and expand their vision for potential leadership possibilities. Participants will receive a certificate from Gustavus Adolphus College acknowledging the completion of the STEP UP leadership curriculum.

Students who complete the STEP UP program and attend Gustavus Adolphus College will be eligible to receive a $500 annually renewable scholarship (up to $2000).

2019 STEP UP Date Options*:

Thursday, March 7, 2019 (Registration deadline: March 1, 2019)

Thursday, March 14, 2019 (Registration deadline: March 8, 2019)

*Students attend only one STEP UP Leadership Development date option. Each training date is limited to a total of 50 students.

Questions can be directed to or 507-933-7001.


Training Schedule 

Training Schedule
Time Activity
9:00 a.m. Arrival/Check-In
9:30 a.m. Welcome
10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. Leadership Seminar - Session 1
Option 1: My Leadership Story, Roles and Values
Option 2: Knowing and Maximizing Strengths
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Leadership Seminar - Session 2
Option 1: My Leadership Story, Roles and Values
Option 2: Knowing and Maximizing Strengths
12:45 p.m. Lunch
2:00 p.m. Capstone Leadership Seminar
3:00 p.m. Comissioning and Sending
3:30 p.m. Homeward Bound

 Groups of more than 5 students can register, but registration form limits 5 students per form.

Facilitators: STEP UP Leadership Development

amyAmy Pehrson is the Assistant Director of Community-Based Service and Learning. Her main responsibilities include directing nine volunteer service programs. Previously she served as Director of Mentoring and Peer Education where responsibilities included leading the alumni mentoring program, directing the Peer Assistants, and co-directing and teaching in the Gusties in On-going Leadership Development Program (GOLD). Amy lives on the Pehrson family farm west of St. Peter, Minn. with her husband and three children.

 Education: B.A. Elementary Education, Gustavus Adolphus College; M.A. Viterbo University, Servant Leadership.

What does Amy Pehrson say about STEP UP Leadership Development? “We have all been called to be leaders in some aspect of our lives - now and into the future - and it is important that we begin to understand what that means for each of us. In the STEP UP program, students will begin to identify their own strengths and understand that by naming and claiming their strengths they can begin to articulate their own leadership story.”

gradyRev. Grady St. Dennis serves as the Director of Church Relations and College Chaplain at Gustavus Adolphus College. An ordained minister of the ELCA, he served as Associate Pastor at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, where he developed and implemented several programs, including evangelism and outreach ministry programs for young adults. At Gustavus, St. Dennis works to build, strengthen, and support Lutheran higher education in general and Gustavus in particular. "Imagine a line with three segments. The middle segment is the time of being an '18- 22 year old college student', and the others are the 'Before' and 'Beyond' segments of the journey. The role I serve for Gustavus has me relating to people across this entire spectrum." St. Dennis and his wife Angie live in Edina, Minn. with their two daughters.

Education: B.A. Gustavus Adolphus College; M.Div. Luther Seminary, St. Paul.

What does Grady St. Dennis say about STEP UP Leadership Development? “The thing we hear frequently from many parents, educators, pastors, youth leaders, and young people themselves is the need for more concrete leadership development opportunities for high school youth. This is a perfect resource for any young person who wants to gain more leadership skills and confidence for stepping up as a leader.”


Jodi Maas serves as the Assistant Director of Church Relations and Assistant to the Chaplains. She lives in Mapleton with her two children, Tyler and Lauren. She is an active member of Christ the King Lutheran Church and is on the Word and Sacrament commission. Jodi also serves on the Board for the Holiday Sharing Tree in Mankato and on the Triple A foundation for Maple River school. She enjoys attending her children's activities, reading, shopping and spending time with family and friends.

What does Jodi Maas say about STEP UP Leadership Development? "I believe that resources for high school students to gain more leadership skills are essential to their success. Key takeaways from leadership training that I would like students to utilize as they pave their way in the future are enabling others to act and inspiring a shared vision."

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