Youth Leadership

Youth Leadership and Character Development

The Carolinas Freedom Foundation annually sponsors the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Program Awards and Recognition Ceremony. Thank you to AT&T for your generous sponsorship.

Held toward the end of each academic year at Charlotte's Bojangles' Coliseum, the CMS JROTC Award Ceremony helps culminate the yearlong activities in which the cadets have participated. Sponsored by the generous people at AT&T, the awards recognize outstanding individual performances by cadets in the JROTC programs. Medals are presented for excellence in academics, citizenship and leadership.

Watch the video from the 2018 JROTC Award Ceremony here!

All CMS JROTC programs achieving excellence during their Military Service-directed Inspection/Accreditation are recognized. Finally, recognition is provided to schools with the presentation of Superintendent's Cup Trophies in the form of Gold, Silver, and Bronze levels of achievement.

The Superintendent's Cup is a Standards-Based program focusing on Competition, Performance, and Character.

In addition to the 1,000 cadets who assemble on the Bojangles' Coliseum floor, more than 2,000 parents, friends, and community supporters/leaders attend this event. Join us on April 25, 2019. And thank you, AT&T, for your continued support of this community program!

Date: Thursday April 25, 2019
Time: 6:00PM
Location: Bojangles' Coliseum
Cost: Free admission and parking

General Hugh Shelton Leadership Initiative

Each year, the Carolinas Freedom Foundation offers 30 area high school students rising 11th and 12th graders the opportunity to attend the weeklong General Hugh Shelton Leadership Challenge.

Students must hold a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, demonstrate high moral character and possess leadership skills.

Retired General Hugh Shelton, also the 14th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently established the General H. Shelton Leadership Initiative for Leadership Development to train students in developing strong leadership skills. A North Carolina native and graduate of North Carolina State University, General Shelton returned to his home state to inspire, educate and develop values-based leaders throughout communities in North Carolina. The program was created in the belief that leadership must be based on four core values: honesty, compassion, integrity and diversity.

The 2018 session in Charlotte will be held on the campus of UNC-C with the opening ceremony set for June 24-29, 2019.


  • "Thank you so much! I will remember this great opportunity forever." LK
  • "Thank you for this incredible experience. I learned so much about myself." HG
  • "Working with other young people like me through the seminars, rope courses and activities, I feel that I learned life skills and gained leadership experience." KR
Date: Sunday June 23, 2019
Location: UNC-Charlotte
Contact: Rita Gutierrez

2019 Patriotic Art Competition and Exhibition

Each year the Carolinas Freedom Foundation in cooperation with the Area Visual Arts Department sponsors a competition and exhibition. This special program offers a unique opportunity for talented visual arts students to apply their creative skills producing artwork depicting their concept and visualization of what the "ART PROMPT or THEME" means to them.

Deadline for entry is October 28, 2019!

The theme for 2019's competition is: be courageous!

How do you describe courageous?

It's one of the most admirable traits. Courageous is an adjective and means not deterred by danger or pain; brave. Willing to put oneself in harm's way in order to do what is right.

Download entry forms here.

Entry Rules

Entries must be two dimensional and no larger than 18" x 24" and may include water color, pastel, oil, acrylic, charcoal, pen and ink, pencil, collage, and ORIGINAL photography.

Submit entries to Carolinas Freedom Foundation c/o American Red Cross, 2425 Park Road, Charlotte, NC 28203 no later than October 28, 2019. Winners announced November 1, 2019.


High School:
1st Place $1,000 scholarship,
2nd Place $500 scholarship,
3 Honorable Mentions (Bronze Medals)

Middle School:
1st Place, 2nd Place, and 3 Honorable Mentions
Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals


All teachers submitting a student entry will receive a $25 Gift Card from Cheap Joes Art Supply in Charlotte to use as he/she wishes. Further, teachers with First or Second Place winners will receive an additional $100 in Gift Cards.


For additional information:
Debby Woodhouse, Chairperson or
Tom Derham, Co-Chair

8th Annual Patriotism Bowl

The Patriotism Bowl is an annual community fundraising event that turns a local high school football game a college bowl-like atmosphere which raises awareness of citizenship, patriotism, and service. The 2019 Bowl game will tentatively be played on or near September 6, 2019. The two teams will be determined soon. In the 2018 Patriotism Bowl, the North Mecklenburg Vikings defeated the Rocky River Ravens 28-21 back on September 7, 2018, in Mint Hill, NC.

Students, fans, and sponsors honor those who serve by wearing camouflaged jerseys, playing patriotic music, bringing in military displays and family-friendly food and entertainment, and staging military flyovers and parachute jumps.

Visit the Patriotism Bowl website here.

Flags in Classrooms

The Carolinas Freedom Foundation supports putting American flags in every classroom across the state so children and teens are reminded and inspired by the patriotic symbol every day.

When the Carolinas Freedom Foundation recognized that there were schools that did not have appropriate American flags, the organization launched the Flags in Classrooms program.

The Carolinas Freedom Foundation now underwrites a program to ensure that local schools have appropriate flags for the classrooms, outside entrances and auditoriums. This program is now offered in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Union County Schools.

To make the initiative successful, a committee made of members of the Carolinas Freedom Foundation board of directors surveyed schools in the area to collect and catalog information about each school's needs. In response to those needs, the CFF found an opportunity to provide each school with flags for use in multi-purpose rooms and outside flag poles along with flags for individual classrooms.

In addition to providing schools with the symbol of our country, a Carolinas Freedom Foundation team visits the beneficiary schools and presents a program on the flag's history and how it should be honored.

Name: Jeff Huggins
Phone: 704-619-9350