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The Great Task

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us." - Abraham Lincoln


The Gettysburg Foundation and Gettysburg National Military Park are pleased to announce new opportunities for youth leadership and service with:

So what, exactly, is the Gettysburg Great Task Youth Leadership Experience?

History can do more than just instruct; it can also inspire. And the Great Task Youth Leadership Experience is designed to inspire civic engagement through the study of history in order to make a positive impact in your school and community.

The Gettysburg Great Task Youth Leadership Experience is a new and exciting two-day program geared toward high school aged students that focuses on the decisions, the actions, and, most importantly, the leadership demonstrated by ordinary individuals faced with extraordinary challenges during the bloodiest battle of the American Civil War. By examining and then recreating these challenges, students will be able to identify and develop their own leadership skills and be inspired to use the lessons learned to make a positive impact in their own communities or in their own schools.

Participating students will work closely with National Park Service Rangers and Park Educators to learn how soldiers, doctors, and ordinary civilians rose to the occasion and demonstrated great leadership when confronted with the crises experienced during the Battle of Gettysburg. Students will learn how the examples of the past can still be applied to the challenges of today.

Find out about what past participants thought of the experience.

This sounds great! So how do I participate?

Are you the leader of. . .

  • a service-oriented school or scout troop?
  • a leadership-oriented after school or weekend youth
  • or do you just simply know a group of 7th-12th Graders who want to make a positive difference with their lives, at their school, or in the communities?


If so, then the Great Task Youth Leadership Experience may be right for you.

The Great Task Youth Leadership Experience is designed for high school students and high school aged youth groups who are looking to go beyond the basic curriculum-based field trips. By exploring and, more importantly, applying the leadership lessons they learn at Gettysburg they will be challenged to deal with a great task in their own communities and their own schools.

This is an intensive learning experience that requires a commitment on the part of the students and group leaders, one that will also require a follow-up report and brief video. We want to know how the students applied the leadership lessons learned at Gettysburg to their own Great Task. Great Task Excursions are offered every weekend from mid-July to early October but in order to participate, you must apply.

Apply online by going to and clicking on the “Great Task Excursion” application.

Accommodation grants and financial assistance is available for qualifying groups. Please see the Great Task application for additional information.

What Will Be Expected From You? 

Before applying, you will first need to identify your own special Great Task. Examples may include creating or establishing an anti-bullying program in school, setting up a special tutoring center for children, cleaning up and maintaining a community playground, or facilitating young volunteers at a local food bank. Truly there is no end to all the Great Tasks that create positive change in your school or in your community.

After determining their own Great Task, students will participate in the Great Task excursion and afterward will report back on how they are applying the lessons they learned at Gettysburg in meeting their goals and in rising to the occasion to meet their Great Task. Their efforts and accomplishments will then be recognized on the “Great Task” Wall inside the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center and their efforts-will be shared on the Park’s social media pages.

In addition, each participating group will be nominated for “The Great Task” Student Leadership Award. This new annual award will be presented to the leaders of the best community leadership projects of the year. Spring and Summer participant submissions/nominations for the award are due by Oct. 15 and Fall and Winter participant submissions are due by May 15.

Great Task Award winners will be invited back to participate in the Dedication Day ceremony on Nov. 19th, the anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. The winning submission will also receive $500 in grants to support their community project.