Franciscan LEAD is a five-day, Christ-centered, sacrament-soaked, prayer fueled immersion in Catholic teachings on leadership, evangelization, and discipleship inspired by the life and witness of St. Francis of Assisi. Our leadership philosophy is based on the foundation that youth leadership flows from a personal relationship with Christ. Therefore, we first give teens the tools to grow closer in their relationship with Jesus and then give them the essentials for servant leadership and evangelization.

Franciscan LEAD will take place prior to only the following Steubenville Youth Conferences in 2024:

  • Atlantic
  • Main Campus 1
  • Main Campus 2
  • Main Campus 3
  • Main Campus 4
  • Rockies
  • Northwest

“I went into the LEAD week totally nervous and having a few problems with my faith, and came out feeling strong and confident in my faith as a soldier of God. Throughout the week all my fears about who I was and what I had to do vanished. I found confidence and strength in God and slowly, through the week, realized that God has it all under control and that he loved me for who I was.”

Leadership, Evangelization, and Discipleship

To foster discipleship, teens will:

  • Learn more about prayer and spend time in personal prayer every day
  • Encounter Jesus Christ in daily Mass, Eucharistic Adoration and Confession
  • Learn more about the persons of the Trinity and the Blessed Mother and grow in deeper relationship with them


To equip them for leadership and evangelization, teens will:

  • Learn about service and humility as the heart of leadership
  • Share what God has done in their lives with their peers
  • Grow in awareness of the cultural challenges that contradict our faith and morals


Franciscan LEAD is held the week before a Steubenville Youth Conference, beginning Monday and ending Friday afternoon when the participant will join his/her group for the weekend youth conference.

Apply for Franciscan LEAD

The application for Franciscan LEAD is a two part online process – the youth application and referral form. All youth applying for Franciscan LEAD will need the name and email of an adult who may be their youth minister, priest or any adult that knows them well enough to answer questions about their faith life. (The referral must be over 21 and cannot be a family member.)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Franciscan LEAD?

Franciscan LEAD is a five-day, Christ-centered, sacrament-soaked, prayer-fueled immersion in Catholic teachings on leadership, evangelization, and discipleship inspired by the life and witness of St. Francis of Assisi. The philosophy of Franciscan LEAD is to teach authentic, lasting leadership that flows from intimacy with Christ, so we first seek to engage youth in a personal relationship with Christ and then give them the tools to share their faith with others.

When does Franciscan LEAD take place?

Franciscan LEAD is offered the week before a Steubenville Youth Conference. The training begins on the Monday evening before the conference and runs through Friday afternoon. On Friday afternoon, Franciscan LEAD participants join their youth groups when they arrive on site for the weekend conference. Therefore, each Franciscan LEAD applicant must be a registered conference participant with their group for the weekend.

In 2024, Franciscan LEAD will be offered prior to Steubenville Main Campus (1, 2, 3, & 4), Steubenville Northwest, Steubenville of the Rockies, and Steubenville Atlantic.

Who should apply for Franciscan LEAD?

Franciscan LEAD is for high-school aged youth who are passionate about their Catholic faith, active in their youth groups, and ready to step up to the next level of leadership through evangelization and discipleship training.

What is the deadline for applications?

June LEAD Week Applications Due May 15th; July LEAD Week Applications Due May 31st. Applications are continuing to be reviewed and accepted on a first-come first-serve basis. Please note that some locations will fill up sooner than others.

What is the age requirement for applying?

Youth can apply for Franciscan LEAD for the summer after their freshman year in high school through the summer after their senior year in high school.

Who facilitates the Franciscan LEAD week?

The program is led by a team of young adults who have a passion for ministry and desire to share what God has given them. Facilitators are trained by Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Conference Office. Many of the leaders are studying for futures in ministry or have graduated college and are actively working in full time ministry. Franciscan LEAD offers a 10-to-1 youth-to-leader ratio.

How do youth apply for Franciscan LEAD?

The application for Franciscan LEAD is a two-part online process – the youth application and the referral form. All youth applying for Franciscan LEAD will need an adult that knows them to fill out their referral form. The referral person needs to be a non-family member over the age of 21, such as their youth minister, priest, or any other adult that knows them well enough to answer questions about their faith life. All applications and referrals must be submitted through the online application.

Can a youth apply to Franciscan LEAD at a site other than where their group is going for the weekend conference?

No. One of the values of Franciscan LEAD is that participants use their newly acquired skills and insights to serve their fellow group members throughout the youth conference weekend. LEAD applicants are required to be registered at the same Steubenville Youth Conference as their groups and can only apply for LEAD if they are already registered for the conference.

What is the Franciscan LEAD acceptance process?

After the application has been reviewed, the Steubenville Conference Office will send the youth and the referral an email detailing whether or not the youth is accepted. Payment for Franciscan LEAD will not be accepted until after the applicant has been accepted to the program. If the applicant is accepted, all travel and payment information will be sent via email to both the youth and referral.

What is the cost of the week and what does this price include?

The Franciscan LEAD program cost is variable, depending on the conference location. For exact Franciscan LEAD costs, please contact the regional conference registration team or email [email protected] (be sure to mention the conference location for which you are requesting the cost). The cost includes training in discipleship and evangelization, a resource book, official program t-shirt, and lodging and meals for the participant during the duration of the program. This cost does not include the registration fee for the conference weekend or transportation to and from the site. Full or partial payment options may be available through sponsorship by the parish youth group.

How are travel arrangements made?

Once the participant is accepted to the program, they are responsible for arranging their own travel to the site on Monday and notifying the Steubenville Conference Office of their travel plans after acceptance. Please do not make travel arrangements until after the application is accepted. If a participant will be flying into the local airport on Monday, we will arrange pickup for the youth. We will not arrange transportation back to the airport on Sunday following the conference weekend.

Where will participants join their groups on Friday?

Participants will meet with their groups at the conference site. Franciscan LEAD staff will provide transportation from the LEAD location to the conference site on Friday. Participants must join their groups by dinner on Friday, when their meal plans begin for the weekend conference.

Will youth be considered if they apply for Franciscan LEAD for a second year?

Yes, however youth must go through the entire application process again, and priority will be given to new applicants. Previous participation in Franciscan LEAD does not guarantee acceptance.

Can youth be considered for Franciscan LEAD if they have never attended a Steubenville Youth Conference?

Yes. Applicants do not need to have attended a Steubenville Youth Conference to apply for Franciscan LEAD.

Contact Us

[email protected]
Phone: 740-284-5876

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