What is FELC?

The Free Enterprise Leadership Challenge is the flagship program of the Jesse Helms Center Foundation, a non-profit, education museum, and archive located in Wingate, North Carolina. Since its creation in 1995, the program has over 10,000 graduates and is conducted in many states and international countries including Mexico and Uruguay. The Jesse Helms Center is a member of the Union County Chamber of Commerce and is a registered charity with all states which require formal registration. FELC is conducted by the Helms Center with different universities contractually providing housing/dining/meeting space.

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who can apply?

Interested high school students who will be rising sophomores, juniors or seniors in high school at the start of the 2019 sessions and want to learn more about free enterprise through hands-on business experience are encouraged to apply. While your academic background and leadership experience can be important factors, the quality of your short answers can be just as important. FELC wants dedicated and enthusiastic students who are committed to participating during the week. No business knowledge is required.

residential program

The 5-day program begins Sunday afternoon and concludes Thursday afternoon for Wingate University, Campbell University, and Palm Beach Atlantic University. Camps held at Houston Baptist University will begin on Monday and end on Friday. The cost to attend is $175 and includes all meals, housing in air-conditioned rooms, and all program costs and materials.



Non-residential program

The 4-day program is offered at Midlands Technical College in Columbia, SC. Each day begins each day at 8:30 a.m. and concludes at 7:30 p.m, Monday - Thursday. The cost to attend is $50 and includes all meals (lunch and dinner Monday-Wednesday and lunch Thursday), and all program costs and materials.


We will not be able to provide airport/train station/bus transportation for students who wish to attend our program from outside states. parents/guardians must accompany student participants and should plan on arranging their own travel. 

Safety and Security

The safety of students who participate in our program is our number one concern. All universities where the programs take place are accredited schools with round the clock campus security. All FELC employees participate in background checks and received training for emergencies and incidents. Additionally, FELC uses a Zero Tolerance Policy for program participants which ensures that all students are afforded a safe, pleasant environment in which to learn.