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.

Held toward the end of each academic year at Charlotte's Bojangles' Coliseum, the CMS JROTC Awards Ceremony helps culminate the yearlong activities in which the cadets have participated. 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 1200 cadets who assemble on the Bojangles' Coliseum floor, more than 3000 parents, friends, and community supporters/leaders attend this event. Join us on April 20, 2023. 

JROTC info for CMS high schools
Date: April 20, 2023
Time: 6:00PM
Location: Rocky River High School
Cost: Free admission and parking

Red Hat Shelton Challenge

Each year Carolinas Freedom Foundation offers 30 rising high school juniors and seniors from the greater Charlotte region the opportunity to attend a weeklong leadership camp conceived by General Hugh Shelton.

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, 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 2022 session in Charlotte will be held on the campus of UNC-Charlotte; June 26 - July 1, 2022.



  • "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:  June 26 - July 1, 2022
Location: UNC-Charlotte
Contact: Rita Gutierrez

Patriotism BowlS

12th Annual - Carolinas, 2nd Annual - Georgia, & Inaugural Indiana
A Celebration of Service, September 8, 2023
The Patriotism Bowl is an annual community fundraising event that turns a local high school football game into "the greatest spectacle in high school sports"! Its pageantry creates a college bowl-like atmosphere which raises awareness of citizenship, patriotism, and service while raising money for patriotic non-profit organizations. 
Carolinas Freedom Foundation works to "INSPIRE patriotic citizenship in our youth and community as we HONOR the service of veterans and first responders."
 Locations TBA for the 2023 Patriotism Bowls

The games will be covered by several TV crews / radio stations and includes a pregame military jump team, a possible military flyover, and patriotic/camouflage jerseys worn by both sides. 

Date: Friday September 8, 2023

Times: 5:30PM -- Gates Open

7:00 PM -- Pregame Show
7:30 PM -- Kickoff

Locations: To Be Announced

Cost: Tickets are $9

Sponsorship Contacts:
Mark Brodowicz - 317-525-0982/

Brad Thomas - 704-560-6250/

Flags in Classrooms

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

When the Carolinas Freedom Foundation recognized there were schools that did not have appropriate American flags, the organization launched the Flags in Classrooms program presented by veterans and supported by local businesses and individual contributors. Carolinas Freedom Foundation now underwrites a program that not only ensures local schools have appropriate flags for classrooms, outside entrances, and auditoriums, it also includes a youth leadership training component for groups beginning in kindergarten.

To make the initiative successful, a committee made of members of the Carolinas Freedom Foundation board of directors surveyed schools in Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, and Union counties to collect and catalog information about each school's needs. In response to those needs, 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. The program is offered to any school in North or South Carolina -- reach out to to begin the process for your school. 

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

Guidelines for Display of the Flag

Name: Jeff Huggins
Phone: 704-619-9350