leaders grow in skills through fun

Young Leaders Grow at Moorelands Kids

The snow has been falling and temperatures have been chilly, but the kids from BLAST at Thorncliffe Park have been in a flurry of activity as they made GIANT snowflakes! They had a great opportunity to learn that good leaders are FAIR. When creating, working, or doing a project together, it’s important to take turns and share. The BLAST kids had to work together to share scissors, tape, and other resources. Leaders know that when you THINK WIN/WIN, you consider each other, and you find solutions that work for everyone. Another thing they learned was that WORKING TOGETHER IS BETTER! When things get tricky, it’s great to be able to ask a friend for help!

Who do you have in your life that you can ask for help? Are you a person that others can rely on?

Apply for Moorelands Camp 2019!

Our overnight summer camp in the Algonquin Highlands is filling up fast!  All spots at Moorelands Camp are subsidized, starting as low as $25 for six days of adventure, fun and leadership development in the great Canadian wilderness. Want to learn more? Check out the Moorelands Camp page and discover how Moorelands Kids develops young leaders over the summer break!

Apply online


Will you join Moorelands Kids in expanding our family? Until Family Day on February 18th, every time you SHARE a Moorelands Kids post on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, and you TAG us with @MoorelandsKids, and tag #MoorelandsKids, you will be entered in to win MOORELANDS KIDS SWAG!

We want everyone to know about the work Moorelands Kids is doing to provide Toronto kids the skills they need to be outstanding leaders and engaged citizens. By increasing our online presence and growing our base of supporters, we can spread the word about what we’re doing, and SHARE the LOVE!


Christmas Caring Through Christmas Sharing

Income inequality is rising twice as fast in Toronto than in the rest of the country, with 133,000 children in Toronto living in poverty.  Since 1912, Moorelands Kids has stood in the gap, providing support and programming to over 130,000 kids from Toronto.

At Moorelands Kids, we empower kids and set them up for success by advocating for positive youth development, creating connections, forming partnerships, investing in leadership and life skills learning programs, and leveraging and protecting our world-class assets.

When we teach kids about LEADERSHIP, one of the qualities an empowered leader demonstrates is CARING. Doing what you can to be KIND, HELPING others in need, and showing that you CARE, are all the ways that we can be leaders in our families, our schools, and in our communities.

This Christmas, 819 Moorelands’ kids and babies were shown that when you help others, you demonstrate that you CARE.

Our Christmas Sharing donors gave their time purchasing, wrapping and delivering gifts. They gave their energy and effort, choosing the perfect gifts for their adopted families. They gave their finances and resources to care for families that needed their support. And most of all, they gave parts of their hearts as they SHOWED THEY CARE.

How can you show someone that you care? Can you write an encouraging card to someone important to you? Could you spend time helping a friend? What about reconciling a relationship? Or making a new friend? Maybe spending time with your family?  What about saying thank you to someone who has helped you?

THANK YOU to our donors. You are examples of Christmas CARING through Christmas SHARING!

This past Christmas, hundreds of families-in-need experienced CARING thanks to our community! What an incredible way to encourage and empower kids!

Check out the pics below.

All the best for 2019!

Christmas Sharing 2018

Read more myMoorelands articles…


Introducing LEDGE and STEP Our New High School Programs

At Moorelands Kids, we recognize the inherent value of all children and youth. We provide opportunities for participants in our programs to develop self-awareness and confidence, and learn about the habits and qualities that help to empower them as leaders.

We’re excited to unveil our new programs for high school students! These advanced leadership development programs are for grade 9 and 10 students who demonstrate a desire to learn and further develop their leadership skills.

At Moorelands Camp, our high school programs challenge campers to:

  • Develop their leadership skills through a variety of practical activities
  • Learn about their personal strengths and areas to develop
  • Practice valuable life skills that are transferable to their community back in the city.

LEDGE: Learn, Experience, Deepen, Grow, Empower

The LEDGE program (formerly ACE) is for students in Grade 9. LEDGE is designed to introduce participants to the idea of becoming leaders in their community. Campers will participate in practical activities that teach them advanced leadership skills. They will go on a 3-day canoe trip and learn advanced Outdoor Living Skills. They will grow as individuals and as a team through the High/Low Ropes Challenge Course. LEDGE is focused on:

  • Identifying their personal strengths as a leader
  • Learning to work within a team
  • Improving their communication skills
  • Applying Moorelands Kids’ Habits and Qualities in their daily interaction

LEDGE is a one camp session and is offered as a BOYS or GIRLS session

TO APPLY for LEDGE: submit and application package online or through the mail. Applicants attend an information session at our city office. Expectations of the program will be explained and questions answered.

LEDGE campers heading out on the canoe trip.

STEP: Serve, Transform, Excel, Practice

STEP is a co-ed program (formerly SALT) is for students in Grade 10. STEP encourages participants to deepen their knowledge and apply their leadership skills. Campers will participate in practical activities for participants to learn about advanced leadership skills. They will go on a 3-day canoe trip and learn advanced Outdoor Living Skills. They will grow as individuals and as a team through the High/Low Ropes Challenge Course. STEP is focused on:

  • Demonstrating leadership through dynamic activities, goal setting, and journaling
  • Completing a one-week job shadow and mentoring experience
  • Receive Emergency First Aid certification upon successful completion of the course and test

STEP is a total of 12 days over two camp sessions. Campers return home between sessions. Completion of the LEDGE program is a prerequisite to admission.

To apply for STEP: submit an application package online or through the mail. Applicants attend a personal interview at our city office as part of the application process. Participants will discuss their past leadership experiences and learn about the expectations of the program.

Applications for LEDGE and STEP are due by MONDAY FEBRUARY 4, 2019

STEP campers pose with their leaders.


When leaders face a challenge, they get to make choices. Our young leaders in BLAST (Budding Leaders After School Teams) experience this every week as they try new things together. Whether they are making nachos together, trying tzatziki for the first time, making crafts or playing games, they get to chose how they respond to problems.


At Moorelands Kids’ BLAST after-school program, students learn that when facing a new challenge, or problem, they can be REACTIVE or PROACTIVE.

BLAST kids learn to be proactive
  • REACTIVE leaders lack self-control, make rash decisions and lash out; PROACTIVE leaders take time to think things through and focus on outcomes…
  • REACTIVE leaders are afraid of mistakes; PROACTIVE leaders are not because they know they can learn from them…
  • REACTIVE leaders focus on their own needs and put themselves first; PROACTIVE leaders understand the power of teamwork in solving problems…
  • REACTIVE leaders push for instant results; PROACTIVE leaders share a vision and think strategically so everyone can move forward…


One of the Moorelands Kids’ Habits & Qualities is CARING. Participants are taught that it’s important to Listen and Understand and THEN be understood. They learn that taking time to…

  2. Be open-minded to other peoples ideas
  3. Listening without interrupting to understand another’s point of view
  4. Calmly helping others understand yours

…is part of what makes a leader PROACTIVE. When you are REACTIVE to a problem, you run the risk of letting your emotions cloud your thinking and making poor decisions. Being REACTIVE means you often miss out on the best solution to a problem because you can’t see other perspectives to your own. 

Are there areas in your life where you could be more PROACTIVE and less REACTIVE? How can you be more caring in your family, in your school, in your community, or in your workplace?

Early Bird Camp Registration!

Moorelands Camp registration is OPEN! Anyone who applies before January 31st will be entered into a draw to win their choice of camp week, plus a Moorelands Camp BRACELET! Click here to enter your child’s application online today!


Applications are also open for our camp high school programs: LEDGE and STEP! These programs challenge campers to:

Two friends enjoying meal time at camp!
  • Develop their leadership skills through a variety of practical activities
  • Learn about their personal strengths and areas to develop
  • Practice valuable life skills that are transferable to their community back in the city

 The LEDGE (Learn, Experience, Deepen, Grow, Empower) program is for participants in grade 9. The STEP (Serve, Transform, Excel, Practice) program is for participants in grade 10. Applications can be submitted until February 4th. Interviews and Information sessions are on February 9th and 23rd. Click here to apply now!

working at camp

Why Working at Camp is THE BEST

Every summer, over 600 children have the opportunity to go to Moorelands Camp. They escape the concrete jungle of the city and replace it with 45 acres of lake, sand and forests. They spend a week making friends and living in a cabin. They learn new skills- kayaking, archery, high ropes, swimming, and many many others. Kids have the chance to have adventures on a campout, playing wild games with crazy costumes and themes. And most importantly, kids grow in confidence, and character.

None of this is possible without the 50+ camp staff who choose to spend their summer at Moorelands Camp.

Working at camp is THE BEST. It will be the most challenging, stretching, and amazing experience of your life. Here are some things that will happen at camp…

You will make AMAZING FRIENDS.

Camp is where strangers become friends, and where those friendships will last forever. Living and working together, you will meet other people who are as committed to helping others as you are! How can you NOT be friends when you dress up as Mud Men, run around the island in crazy costumes, paddle the lake together, or lead a cabin of kids together!

You will spend your summer HELPING KIDS.

Moorelands Kids is a children’s charity that teaches kids from low-income, Toronto neighbourhoods the 21st century skills they need to be outstanding leaders and engaged citizens. When you work at camp, you are giving of yourself in one of the most fulfilling ways possible- helping others! There will be children who look up to you, learn from you, and who will be your biggest fans!

Though DEVELOPING LEADERSHIP SKILLS, you will learn and grow personally.

Our staff members are positive, enthusiastic team players who put the needs of others before their own. We provide an incredible week of training, and ongoing development opportunities. Working at camp prepares you to work in MANY other areas – you will have LOTS to add to your resume!

After a summer working at camp, staff members are ready for the challenge of being a strong role model and mentor who empowers kids to positively develop their leadership skills in a fun and transformative environment!

Apply today to work at Moorelands Camp today! It truly is THE BEST!


setting goals

Leaders set SMART Goals

Now that 2019 is upon us, we have the opportunity to prioritize what is important in our lives. At Moorelands Kids, we know that Leaders are people who SET GOALS, and do FIRST THINGS FIRST.

Goals help our plans and dreams become reality.

Take some time to write out what is important to you this year. Do you want to learn a new skill? How about helping out a friend? Have you chosen to stop doing something? When you can identify the things that are valuable to you, you will know where you want to spend your time and energy.

Setting Goals helps to put legs to our dreams, and provide guidelines to make sure our goals are achieved.

SMART GOALS are a framework for doing FIRST THINGS FIRST and making your dreams and ideas a reality.

This helps you to be responsible with your time, your resources, your efforts and your energy.


  • Specific: What is the goal? Be as detailed and specific as you can
  • Measurable: What is the quantity of the change? Or a cost? How will you know when you’ve completed the goal? This helps us to do FIRST THINGS FIRST
  • Achievable: Make sure that the goal can be completed within the measurable framework you create.
  • Realistic: Are the changes you’re hoping to make reasonable? Be realistic about the time and resources you have.
  • Timely: Put a time frame on the goal. How much time will you invest in completing it? When will you be done?

Maybe your goal seems too big to achieve, but when you create SMART goals, you are responsible. You put parameters around your goal, and help yourself to achieve it!

Leaders are people who are RESPONSIBLE. They do what they are supposed to do. They use self-control. They think before they act and they consider the consequences. Leaders choose their attitudes, actions, and behaviours.

This year, how will you become a better leader?

New Year Resolutions

New Year….Resolutions or Habits?

The turn of a new year often brings the desire to declare resolutions about what will be different in your life. Many times, these resolutions are about self-improvement and bettering yourself. It seems that the whole world is hungry for change. Have you found that resolutions are easy to keep? Come the end of the year, have you achieved what you set out to do?

More often than not, resolutions are broken…. You go to the gym a few times, and then life gets busy. You eat nutritious food, until that delicious pizza is in front of you, or you write in a journal every day until the day you forget.

Rather than stating New Years Resolutions, why not try creating a new Habit or Goal? Making an ambitious and sweeping resolution can often lead to disappointment. Unlike resolutions, we actually become our habits. There are no changed lives, outside of changed habits.

A Habit is something that you do over and over again. Habits are ingrained in our lives: Habits shape how we act.

At Moorelands, we teach that Leaders demonstrate consistent HABITS and QUALITIES.

  • Leaders are people who are PROACTIVE. They show RESPECT
  • Leaders are people who SET GOALS and do FIRST THINGS FIRST. They demonstrate RESPONSIBILITY.
  • Leaders are people who THINK WIN/WIN. They know that FAIRNESS helps everyone.
  • Leaders are people who LISTEN and UNDERSTAND and THEN SEEK TO BE UNDERSTOOD. They are CARING.
  • Leaders know that when doing things, TOGETHER IS BETTER. They build TRUSTWORTHINESS.
  • Leaders CARE FOR THEMSELVES, INSIDE and OUT. They participate and demonstrate CITIZENSHIP.

These Habits and Qualities are what makes Moorelands’ kids LEADERS. Every program that Moorelands Kids provides, teaches and encourages our participants to find ways to integrate these Habits and Qualities into their lives so that they can be empowered to transform their lives.

This New Years, don’t make breakable resolutions, just STATING how you will change things. Actually make a plan to grow and develop new HABITS. Unlike resolutions, we actually become our Habits!


Christmas Sharing Brings JOY

THANK YOU to all of our amazing donors and Christmas elves!

Almost all of the gifts have been dropped off, and it’s nearly time for them to be picked up by Moorelands Kids’ families! It’s thanks to you, your families, your organizations, and your overwhelming generosity that 716 kids will have a joy-filled Christmas! Of the 716 kids served, 566 of those children attended Moorelands Camp, and 150 attend Moorelands Kids’ after-school programs; BLAST, LED, and VITAL. Each of these young people have the opportunity to learn the Habits and Qualities of Leadership. Each of them has been part of a program that empowers them to transform their lives.

Spreading Joy

Your kindness shows Moorelands Kids’ families that the real spirit of Christmas is about giving, being generous, and caring for others. Thank you for shopping together, for knitting together, for choosing great gifts. Thank you for the gift cards that will put a Christmas meal on the table. Thank you for the ribbons and bows, wrapping and bags, and for all of the thoughtful notes that will bring smiles on Christmas morning.

Baby Bundles

We’re also thrilled to tell you that, thanks to your generosity, this year Christmas Sharing will be providing supplies to 106 newborn babies and Moms. We know that these gifts will help connect a new mom with a health care worker and community supports that will provide education in the care of their baby. Baby Bundles also provide some of the vital things that they need to start life together.

Our generous donors continue to amaze us as you give what you have to young people.

THANK YOU for helping us to empower kids to transform their lives.

Be a leader - LED leaders

Being a Leader Means Being a Positive Influence

LED Kids Discover the Qualities of a True Leader

leader dance

Moorelands Kids’ LED (Lead, Excel, Demonstrate) kids have worked hard all year learning about the HABITS & QUALITIES that make a great leader.

It takes work to be PROACTIVE as a leader, but when you choose your response and consider the feelings of others, you show RESPECT. They have worked hard all year through activities like the Egg Drop Challenge to SET GOALS and learned to stay focused, remembering to do FIRST THINGS FIRST. When you think before you act, and consider the consequences, you demonstrate RESPONSIBILITY.

A Leader is a Positive Influence

These young leaders have learned that in order to be a FAIR leader, you need to think WIN/WIN when you consider each other’s point of view. This came in especially handy when they developed team flags and cheers! When lots of people are working together, they realized that LISTENING and UNDERSTANDING and THEN being UNDERSTOOD helps to demonstrate that they CARE about one another. They worked together to complete the Tomb Raider challenge. They really had to demonstrate TRUSTWORTHINESS as each person had a role to play!  Leadership can be challenging, and it takes a lot of work. LED kids learned that being a leader means being a positive influence. When you CARE for YOURSELF, INSIDE & OUT, you are more able to do your share as a member of the community. Leaders are good CITIZENS! Check out the LED program page for more info!

Online event

Lead the Way! Donate to Fix Fisher’s Face!

Time is running out on your chance to choose Fisher’s new look! We all know he needs a little help in the style department, so remember to VOTE for your favourite look NOW! The vote ends on Thursday, November 29th! What will it be? Devilish? The Hulkamania? Or the traditional Half&Half? Make your $3 donation today to have a say, to support the UNITED WAY of GREATER TORONTO, as well as ensuring that Fisher rocks one of these amazing looks for a WHOLE WEEK! It doesn’t get better than that!

Watch LIVE on our Instagram stories as Fisher’s facial hair gets fixed – Friday November 30th at 12pm!!!

Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/moorelandskids/

#ThankyouThursday for an AMAZING #GivingTuesday

Thank you to everyone who supported Moorelands Kids on #GivingTuesday – November 27th –  by spreading the word, donating and volunteering! We had a really successful day!

Altogether we raised $21,141! Of that, $20,391 was to the matching challenge for two weeks at camp. The rest of the donations were to other campaigns like Christmas Sharing or our after-school programs.

We are so grateful to our matching donor who has generously extended the matching challenge to December 31st – you can still donate online and your gift will be matched $ for $!


leading the way on Giving Tuesday!
celebrate together

Time to Celebrate Together – ED’s Report – Holiday 2018

Serving kids more: Lynda Tilley

The Christmas Season

The Christmas season evokes thoughts of sharing which often inspire us to give to others — to the family and friends we love and to those in our community who are in need. With a new calendar year just around the corner, December also is a time to review 2018 and its significant events.

At Moorelands Kids we are no different. We’re looking back at what we, with your support, have accomplished. What a gift your support is! What you’ve made possible is truly significant.

The Gift of Your Support

Through your generous help we have been able to grow in every area of the organization— from the youth we serve to the ways we share stories of impact with you. We have served more kids —a deliberate 2018 goal—and we had record attendance at our Kawagama Lake summer camp. Our two new after-school LED (Lead, Excel, Demonstrate) programs for middle-school children in Toronto’s west-end are off to a great start. We created a vision statement that inspires and gives clear direction to our future work. And, of course, we made the name change to Moorelands Kids to better reflect who we are and what we do while still honouring our roots.

As you look back over your year, we hope that you are proud of the work that Moorelands Kids has achieved and the role you played in making that happen. We truly thank you for standing with us in our work with kids.

Celebrate Together

Now it’s time to celebrate together! Our Christmas Sharing program is well underway. Our growth, while wonderful, has led to a record number of families hoping to receive help at this time of year—so much so that we have created a waitlist.  If you haven’t participated in our Christmas Sharing program and would like to do so, there are still opportunities to sponsor Moms and Newborns-in-need. Please give us a call or complete the online application. If you wish to ensure that some campers get two weeks of camp in 2019, please support the Matching Weeks Challenge initiated by Donald Ross and his family. If you’re thinking about either initiative, please act now—help us to provide more camp for more kids and some assistance this Christmas for families-in-need.

We truly wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful Christmas season.

With gratitude for all that you do,

Lynda Tilley

Executive Director  

Moorelands Kids