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!!!

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#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!
leadership retreat

Leadership Retreat 2018

“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.”  Ken Blanchard

Youth LED and VITAL Kids Connect!

Leadership retreat 2018

Saturday, May 5th marked the annual leadership retreat for our Youth LED and VITAL participants. The leadership retreat is a chance for our middle school and high school participants to consolidate their leadership learnings, connect with their peers and demonstrate their growth through the two programs.  Plus it was a perfect opportunity for participants to get active. Not only did they take part in high ropes, archery and shelter building activities, they each completed over 20,000 steps!!

Using Problem Solving and Teamwork

The shelter building activity was a great opportunity for the youth to employ their problem solving and teamwork skills. First, they learned the different safety points to consider. Then they were split into two groups to build their own shelter. Shelters had to withstand rain, animals and fit the correct proportions. To ensure that the space was the right size while still retaining heat, the tallest person in the group had to kneel and put their arm straight up. To test that the shelter would stand up to rain, the YMCA staff through dirt and mud. And to test the shelter’s ability to withstand nosy animals they threw a log. The participants did a great job! Check out the pics!

Challenge By Choice

At Moorelands, we encourage our participants to set goals, push past their comfort zones and succeed. But of course, it’s always challenge by choice! In the Log Jam (High Ropes activity) it was great to see everyone trying the course, even if they were scared. Our youth all came down from the course happy with the goals they had set for themselves and achieved.

In archery, program leader Alpha set a challenge that if anyone attained a bullseye then he would drop and do 20 push ups… a promise he made good on when the challenge was reached!

Leading By Example

The leadership retreat was a super full day – participants also ran around in the maze, had some free time to play some sports and, of course, ate a lot of food! As well as a delicious lunch and dinner, there was bannock making at the campfire and plenty of s’mores! The campfire was a great chance to share stories and talk about how participants can influence others and lead by example in their communities by using the Moorelands’ Leadership Habits and Qualities in everyday life.

The leadership retreat is an annual event and often takes place at our own Moorelands Camp in Dorset, Ontario. Want to join in on the fun? Sign up for our Youth LED and VITAL youth leadership programs for middle and high school students which will return in the fall or come up to camp this summer!


Moorelands Youth LED Table game

What Goes On at Moorelands Youth LED?

Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader success is all about growing others.”  Jack Welch

They're Not "Just Kids" - They're Future Leaders!

Moorelands Youth LED

Moorelands Youth LED program at Valley Park Middle School gives students in grades 6 – 8 the chance to develop leadership and life skills through fun, hands-on experiences. At Moorelands, we don’t see middle schoolers as “just kids,” we know that they are future Toronto leaders. Our program is designed to help them develop the habits and qualities they need to be leaders, not just in the future, but RIGHT NOW!

Our participants tell us that they end up using what they’ve learned at Moorelands Youth LED to succeed at school, at home and in their community. Read on to find out what exactly goes on at Moorelands Youth LED!

Fun Ways to Build Skills

Moorelands Youth LED is run as two nine-week programs. Participants can sign up for the fall or spring semester – or both! Over the course of the program, participants take part in fun activities that help them develop the Moorelands leadership habits and qualities. In the pics to the right, you can see our young people developing their communication and teamwork skills. The whole group was given 30 images and they had to work together to piece the images into a story in the correct order. Oh, and to just keep them on their toes, there was no talking allowed!

In the images to the left, you can see two Moorelands Youth LED participants taking part in an activity called ‘Nail Stacking.’ Teams start with one nail placed vertically into a wooden block. From there, the task requires each team to see how many nails they can stack on top of one another without the whole thing crashing down. Here, they were working on the leadership habit of “Together is Better” and building their resiliency. The record reached was 30 nails!

Other fun activities include games like “Minefield” where prizes are strewn across the room. Participants work in pairs where one partner is blindfolded and the other has to direct them to the prize they want. The catch is that the pair wins the first thing they touch, so if they don’t listen carefully and touch one of the “boobytraps” also lying throughout the minefield, that’s what they go home with. It’s a way for participants to practise listening skills and the importance of listening first before taking action/responding.

Bringing it all Together

So much happens over the nine-week program including the chance to get certified in First Aid. Towards the end of the program, participants take part in the Egg Drop challenge which is a chance for them to bring all their skills together. Participants are presented with an egg. Then, working in teams, they have to construct packaging for the egg which will allow it to survive being dropped from the second floor down to the first floor completely intact! Check out one team’s results in the video to the left… will their egg have survived the fall?

Volunteer Opportunity

A big highlight of Moorelands Youth LED is the opportunity to gain volunteer experience and pass on some of the skills they have learned to younger kids in their community. Youth LED participants planned and delivered a crafting activity to elementary school-aged kids in our BLAST after-school program. Participants not only explained and lead the activity but also debriefed it too! They helped the younger kids understand the importance of the skills and qualities they had developed; namely sharing, responsibility and fairness.

Our Youth LED and VITAL leadership programs participants also get the opportunity to attend a leadership retreat in the late spring. This field trip to an outdoor education centre gives them a chance to consolidate their learning while taking part in fun, outdoor activities like archery and high ropes.

If you are interested in applying for the spring semester of Youth LED, you can apply online here. Or get in touch with our after-school programs team for more info: 416-466-9987 Ext. 305 or

Moorelands LOGO

Sabina - youth led advocate


Sabina is 13 years old and, as we all know, being 13 can be tough. Before she came to Moorelands Youth LED (Lead Excel Demonstrate) program, she was “a shy type of person”. Sabina never put herself forward and didn’t have the confidence to speak up in class. She also struggled to make friends and as a result hated going to school. Things got so bad in fact that she began making up excuses to stay at home telling her mother she was sick.

When her grades suffered, her guidance counsellor referred her to Moorelands Youth LED program. It was the beginning of a new chapter in Sabina’s life.

At Youth LED, she learned the leadership skills that would help her overcome her shyness. Interacting with her fellow participants, she built skills like communication that she’d lacked before. As her strength in teamwork grew, so she grew in confidence. Sabina began to realise that, in fact, she was a pretty awesome group leader and that her input was valuable.

With the encouragement of her Youth LED leaders, Sabina applied the skills she had learned in Youth LED to her school life.  She started raising her hand and participating in class. Her grades improved and she felt more at ease with her classmates. Now Sabina is a Youth LED advocate and tells all her new friends to join the program too.

It costs $740 to send Sabina to Youth LED for a semester including an end of program leadership retreat. This year will be Sabina’s second year, make a donation now to help her continue her growth.



Karim’s story


When we first met Karim, he was getting into trouble at school, acting out and skipping classes. Reeling from the loss of his father, he was struggling to cope with his hurt feelings and the upheaval to his home life. He refused to speak to his mother about it and counseling hadn’t proved useful either. The one place he could communicate was at the Moorelands Youth (Lead Excel Demonstrate) LED program.

Karim’s mother gave us a call to let us know how much she appreciated the program. She said she was grateful because her son loved being at the program. He would not skip a day, even when he was not as interested in being school. She told us that he has been happier since joining the program and more settled. She also told us that she feels an incredible peace of mind because she knows that at least one day a week, her son is in a safe place that encourages him to question his values and actions and that helps him to find positive and healthy ways of connecting with others.

The two hours a week at this program allows young people from a variety of backgrounds, many of them with complex issues, to come together and learn from each other and our skilled staff. The program has a clear focus on developing personal leadership skills and self-awareness, which Moorelands believes is the right of all young people, and our participants thrive on it. We have long waiting lists at all our programs, which speaks not only to the popularity but also of the need for these kinds of programs.

Youth LED

Leadership in the Great Canadian Wilderness

Youth Leadership Weekend Retreat

Leadership. That’s what Moorelands is all about: providing leadership experiences for Toronto kids from under-served neighbourhoods.  Therefore, every summer, Moorelands Wilderness Camp on Kawagama Lake, welcomes 600 kids to a week of adventure and provides lessons that will last a lifetime… BUT before they arrive, the kids from our Youth LED programs in the City have the chance to experience the wonder of camp at our Leadership Retreat.

Exploring Leadership Challenges

The Youth Leadership Weekend Retreat is intended as an opportunity for all program participants to come together. Youth LED kids explore challenges, consolidate leadership learnings and expand their personal networks as well as community connections.

While the weekend is super fun, as with everything at Moorelands, there’s always a second level of learning. For instance, games such as parachute and red cup pyramid encouraged participants to work as a team, communicate effectively and set goals… while also being pretty hilarious!

Building Teamwork and Trust

A First Taste of the Wilderness!

The weekend was the first time many of our participants had experienced the Great Canadian Wilderness.  Therefore, it was great to see our inner city kids thoroughly enjoying and exploring their new surroundings. Also great was watching them practice the skills and character traits they had developed over the year. Moorelands hopes that their weekend at camp will not only encourage our participants to be better leaders but also foster a life long love of the Canadian Wilderness and nature.

An All-inclusive Experience

This year, all participants had input into the design and implementation of the retreat’s leadership goals and activities. For instance, they planned back pocket games and bus activities. Some favourite moments included facing fears on the high ropes and performing skits and songs around the camp fire!

Because of these fun moments, our Youth LED and Youth LED Volunteer participants went home with a wealth of new skills and experiences as well as solid friendships and positive connections that will support them in making positive decisions back home in their community.

The Great Canadian Giving Challenge

Leadership experiences for as little as $3!

This month, a great way you can support important programs like our Youth Leadership Retreat is by taking part in The Great Canadian Giving Challenge:

Throughout June, every dollar donated to Moorelands online through will earn us a chance to win a $10,000 donation! (minimum $3 donation required).  Therefore, for as little as $3 you could help 8 kids get to Moorelands Wilderness Camp this summer! So, what are you waiting for? Help us help kids!

Thank you for your support!

Physical Literacy

Getting together with our community and seeing our leaders grow

Hey Moorelands!

On April 14, 2016, the Moorelands community came together to enjoy our Annual General Meeting. It was great to see so many community members – donors, staff, volunteers, alumni and participants – out in force to look back on our successes in 2015 and learn about how our community will continue to grow stronger in 2016.

A community united

Moorelands’ President, David Dorsch, kicked off proceedings by sharing a wonderful video of some great moments in Moorelands Wilderness Camp. It was a great community event with thank yous and goodbyes to some of our fantastic retiring Board Members: Judy Moore, Robert Black, Geoff Wilson, Michael Sital, Natasha Bronfman and Karen Finnemore. Plus a warm welcome was given to new Board members – Andrew Pollock and Elaine Lukowski.

Moorelands celebrated some of the wonderful achievements from 2015 such as programs going from strength to strength and the creation of an Alumni Group to keep our community connected. We also got to celebrate two amazing long-standing volunteers – Diane Hopkins and Carole Legget. Learn more about their achievements here.

A highlight of the afternoon was hearing from Moorelands Youth Lead Excel Demonstrate (LED) Alum, Khalida. Check out the video above as she explains why Moorelands matters to her. It’s so wonderful to watch Khalida putting her fantastic communication skills, developed at Youth LED, to great effect! Thank you, Khalida, for sharing your story with us and for staying a part of the Moorelands community!

On the subject of Youth LED, the program is now in full swing over at Valley Park Middle School!

In the past few weeks, participants have begun to learn about communication, completing tasks where different types of communication were necessary and the challenges that came with them. In one activity, participants worked in pairs to practise clarity in communication. The partners sat back to back and one partner had to describe an image to the other, while their counterpart drew what was being described.

In another activity, they had to use one form of communication to describe a popular person/movie/sport to their team (much like charades), their options were writing, drawing, using Play-Doh, physically acting it out or verbally describing without the use of certain words.

Check out the pics and the video below of our participants rising to these challenges!

Finally, tickets are on-sale now for Moorelands’ gala 2016 starring Andrew Cash: Cash for Moorelands.  The event takes place at the stunning lakeside setting of the Palais Royale and will feature delicious food, an open bar and of course fantastic entertainment. Tickets are $150, including a $75 tax receipt – all proceeds will go towards Moorelands’ vital programs like Youth LED featured above. Buy your tickets now, don’t delay!

Have a great week,

Best High res just Moorelands