Ready Set Grow


Fostering Next-Generation Leadership through the Summer Internship Program

A Long-Term Investment in Servant Leadership

When Good Shepherd approved a new strategic plan in 2022, one of the key pillars was investing in the development of leaders in all roles. For ten younger members of Good Shepherd, summer days working with young children, the food pantry garden, and the Holy Cow gave them leadership skills which trained them how to welcome, forgive, and serve. All ten were involved in Good Shepherd’s summer internship program, funded with the help of the Good Shepherd Foundation. The program employs teens to help with summer programming at Good Shepherd, like VBS and Music Mondays. Many of them participated in these programs when they were little. But now, with the help of Children’s Ministry Director Joanne Zastrow, they were the ones in charge. She trusted us with all of this, said intern Mikayla Ott.

These teens believe these leadership skills will help them later in life. Planning and running Camp Create It and leading the activities taught me a lot about how leading larger groups works and things you have to think about, said intern Ashlynn Caldwell. This program is just one example of Good Shepherd living into a pillar of its strategic plan and developing leaders of all ages.

Zastrow said it’s great to see the teens learn how to manage large groups, but she said it’s not the most important benefit from the program. As a church community, we’ve modeled servant leadership and provided examples of what that looks like across generations, said Zastrow. The young kids at camp feel the generosity, kindness, and leadership of the high school students, and in turn visually see the space to serve within the church community as they get older. For this group of high school students, and so many youth at Good Shepherd, servant leadership is…baked into who they are, having grown up in a community that models Christ-like leadership.

These teens will graduate high school very soon, and many of them will move on to college, or work away from Madison. As a result of this opportunity, they will head out into the world with leadership skills developed at Good Shepherd, along with a renewed sense of purpose.