Wave Week

Service Leadership Institute


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Wave Week is one of the premier service leadership training grounds in the United States – and one of the best weeks of your entire life.

Spark the Wave is empowering young people to change the world through service and has trained thousands of the nation’s best young community leaders. Through our intensive week-long Service Leadership Institutes, participants develop their skills in leadership development, group dynamics, and communication in an effort to plan and execute better service projects while building stronger teams. 

Are You Ready to Become an Agent of Change?

Wave Week welcomes high-energy students in 6th through 11th grades during the 2018-2019 school year. Participants are divided into two tracks based upon their age (6-8th grade & 9th-11th grade). Each track meets separately for most activities and for dorm assignments. Meals, social events, large group activities, and service projects incorporate both tracks. Wave Week offers both Residential and Commuter options.





Session 1: July 8 – July 12

Session 2: July 22 – 26

The original Service Leadership Institute! This session offers both Residential and Commuter options for participants and has been drawing the attention of middle school and high school leaders since 2006. Wave Week @ Villanova gives participants the chance to develop personally while giving back to the community throughout the week alongside peers from across the region. Learn valuable leadership skills taught by our most seasoned trainers, volunteer with some of our closest partner organizations, and hear from guest speakers working to make the world a better place. 

Multiple options are available to meet your needs:

Residential – Stay over in the dorms all week!

Commuter – 8:30am – 5:30pm

Extended Commuter – 8:30am – 9:00pm

Advanced Track {Returning Delegates Only} 

Staff-in-Training {Pre-Approval Required} 




Enjoy the full Wave Week experience with our five or six-day Residential option. We do our best to provide many of the comforts of home for your stay on campus. Your delegate will have a roommate of his or her age and a “Dorm Parent” assigned to helping participants adjust through the week. All Residential delegates take part in evening activities including a kickball or volleyball tournament, Night of Service, talent show, and a farewell dance on the last night of Wave Week. Tuition includes everything your delegate needs for the week – a bed to sleep in, three meals a day, all project planning and training materials, social activities, transportation to and from service projects, and our signature blue Spark the Wave t-shirt. Sheets and towels are not provided.


Focus in on fine-tuning leadership and service skills with our five-day Commuter option. Delegates will work together with other members of the Commuter program to plan and execute projects while actively learning methods for teambuilding and enhancing group dynamics. Tuition includes all project planning and training materials, transportation to and from service projects, and our signature blue Spark the Wave t-shirt. Please arrive having eaten breakfast. Lunch is included in tuition.



Want to be able to sleep in your own bed but still get the most you can out of Wave Week? Try out the Extended Commuter option. Stay through the end of the day to enjoy dinner and social activities with Residential participants, and then go home returning refreshed in the morning. All Extended Commuter delegates take part in a kickball or volleyball tournament, Night of Service, talent show, and a farewell dance on the last night of Wave Week. Tuition includes dinner, all project planning and training materials, social activities, transportation to and from service projects, and our signature blue Spark the Wave t-shirt. Please arrive having eaten breakfast. Lunch and dinner are covered in tuition.


Volunteering is a very important aspect of a participant’s experience at Wave Week. We partner with local community organizations (such as Cradles to Crayons, MANNA, and Philabundance) to focus our service efforts and resources towards the needs of those who need it most. Through our service, awareness efforts, and take home projects, we will work to help the people of out communities and the groups that work with them. Wave Week affects the lives of tens of thousands of people every year through the generosity and service of its participants. Each participant receives 40 service hours for attending Wave Week.

  • Effective communication
  • Group leadership
  • Motivating team members
  • Service event planning and marketing
  • Group dynamics
  • Increase community impact
  • Fundraising and budget planning
  • Conflict resolution
  • Diversity awareness
  • Personal and group evaluation
  • Presentation skills
  • Understanding and managing your personal strengths and weaknesses
  • Confidence to know that teens can and do make a difference

Wave Week is a unique peer-learning environment where staff is composed of experienced high school and college student leaders as well as professionals in fields such as business coaching, education, and nonprofit management. We are proud that 95% of our staff volunteers their time to make sure that the Wave Week experience is a great one. They are also almost all Wave Week alumni. We keep the lecturing to a minimum and teach most of the concepts through a range of small group experiential activities and engaging discussion.

There is no average participant at Wave Week! Spark the Wave prides itself on recruiting a diverse mix of delegates and staff. Our teens come to us from a broad geographic, demographic, and economic pool. We have found that exposing teens to young leaders from varied backgrounds creates a more comprehensive and dynamic learning environment. This diversity prepares participants for real-world experiences and helps to develop their communication and teambuilding skills.

Absolutely! We encourage participants to register with classmates or siblings, so they can work on their service projects together once you get home. Not to worry if you are coming solo – plenty of people do, and you will make lifelong friendships once you arrive.

The cost of Wave Week varies depending on session and stay. We keep our costs down as much as possible through fundraisers and our volunteer staff. A $50 per person discount is given to groups of 3 or more students. Payment plans are available in the registration system. Please contact STW for information about financial aid and see specific program pages for costs.

Head on over to our special FAQ for Parents, then give us a call or send us an email! We would love to hear from you.

Katie Oleksiak / Executive Director / katie@sparkthewave.org

  Sabrina Briggs / Wave Week Director / sabrina@sparkthewave.org

Refer a friend to Wave Week!

Share your STW experience with family and friends and earn $100 towards your next STW program. Contact us for details.

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