Big Sky Leadership Forum


For current high school juniors:

Earn a micro-certificate as a future leader in our state capable of bringing people together and leading Montana forward. The Big Sky Leadership Forum culminates in a retreat at the University of Montana in July 24-27. Meet politicians, elections officials, nonprofit leaders, and community organizers from all over Montana to develop a plan on how help your own community.

Travel, meals, and accommodations in the dorms are fully paid.


  • Jon Tester: U.S. Senator Jon Tester is a third-generation Montana farmer, a proud grandfather, and a former school teacher. He is the Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee and Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. He also serves on the Senate Banking Committee, the Senate Commerce Committee, and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Jon and his wife Sharla still farm the same land near the town of Big Sandy, Montana that was homesteaded by Jon’s grandparents in 1912.
  • Grace Gibson Snyder and Roger Sullivan: Explore Montana's constitutional defense of a clean and healthy environment with Grace Gibson-Snyder, a key figure in the groundbreaking Held v. Montana case, and Roger Sullivan, the attorney who represented the coalition of young Montanans. Uncover our legal system's pivotal role in securing a sustainable future for all. 
  • Kristina Lucero:  Kristina Lucero, Director of the American Indian Governance and Policy Institute, will discuss the Indian Child Welfare Act and its multi-generational impact on tribal sovereignty. Gain insights into the cultural, legal, and social dimensions of tribal governance in Montana. 
  • Marilyn Marler: Join Montana State Representative Marilyn Marler as she highlights the vital link between hunting, conservation funding, and preserving our state’s ecosystems.  Explore the critical role of hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts in safeguarding our nation's natural resources. 
  • Bryce Ward: A thriving democracy requires more than just the right to vote. Bryce Ward, founder of ABMJ Consulting and a research associate at the University of Montana, will discuss how the foundations of a strong democracy are first formed in our home communities. Discover why social capital has declined in the U.S. and learn how forging stronger connections with those around us can fortify our democracy.
  • More speakers will join us online and in person at the leadership retreat in July.  

Applications have closed.


For more information, please contact our Program Officer for Youth Engagement, Tyson Warner at