campfire confidence


“Moorelands changed Natalie. Be Natalie’s hero. Make a donation before the end of the year to help Natalie spread some Moorelands “campfire confidence” to other Toronto kids.”

Natalie's Story

I’d like you to meet Natalie. She’s just one of the 133,000 children who are living in poverty in our city, right now.

Natalie was going through a tough time when I first met her.

Our BLAST leaders told me that she had been a victim of bullying at school and her self-esteem was at rock bottom. I watched her interacting with the other children at BLAST and I could see that, although she was struggling, the positive environment based on respect and caring was helping her, slowly but surely, come out of her shell.  It became clear to me that this was a child in need of the year-round support that Moorelands can offer. I determined, right then and there, to get Natalie to camp.

Fast-forward to this summer at Moorelands Camp where I had the pleasure of meeting Natalie again. This time around, it was like meeting a different person.  I saw her beaming with confidence as she sang camp songs with a group of friends around the campfire. As the campfire came to a close, her cabin group passed by. There she was, right in the middle, laughing and filled with joy as she recounted her time at camp and all she’d achieved. When I asked her what she had learned over her time at Moorelands she said;

“Moorelands has taught me how to be strong and think positively. From what I’ve learned here, I can teach others to be more confident like me.”  – Natalie, Age 10.

At Moorelands Camp, kids like Natalie get the opportunity to develop self-esteem and resiliency and to form positive, enduring friendships – the tools they need to overcome bullying and many other life challenges.

Moorelands changed Natalie. Be Natalie’s hero. Donate before December 31st 2017 to help Natalie spread some Moorelands “campfire confidence” to other Toronto kids.

Thank you!


After-school program back in "fall" swing

After-School Programs in “Fall” Swing!

Teamwork, Trustworthiness and Problem-solving

Over the past few weeks, our Youth LED kids have been learning about important leadership habits and qualities that they can use to achieve success. The nine-week program covers many important aspects through a fun variety of activities. This past week the students at Valley Park Middle School were developing teamwork and problem-solving skills and learning about the importance of trustworthiness. Check out the pics!

Getting Active After-School

Recent studies highlight the importance of getting kids active and into the outdoors to reap many physical and mental health benefits and improve attainment at school.  BLAST Gateway has been making the most of the beautiful fall weather by playing soccer and developing their physical literacy skills outdoors. Check out the pics of the fun!


Cooking Activities help kids develop important life-skills

All those active games help our kids work up quite the appetite! Last week, kids at BLAST had quite the treat when they learned how to bake delicious cupcakes! Take a look at the pics of kids practising teamwork and sharing as they worked together to bake a delicious batch of tasty goodness!

Celebrating Canada150 with some Bannock

Over at BLAST Gateway, kids also took part in a cooking activity but this time they were learning about the traditional Canadian bread – Bannock! At Moorelands Camp, kids learn to make bannock on cookouts and campouts so we brought a little camp to Moorelands BLAST and the kids got to recreate a Canadian campout after-school!
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BLAST is back!

Moorelands BLAST is Back!

At Moorelands, we believe that ‘Together is Better’!

BLAST is Back!

BLAST IS BACK! Moorelands BLAST after-school programs returned last week and it was so great to meet old and new faces alike! Our programs at Thorncliffe Park PS, Gateway PS and Grenoble PS all kicked off with getting-to-know-you activities and an introduction to the Moorelands Community Code. At BLAST Thorncliffe, participants got stuck into some fun gym games and got some much-need physical activity. Did you know that being active after school has a greater impact on a child’s academic success than homework??

Together is Better

One of our Moorelands Leadership Habits is that “Together is Better.” As we welcomed back our participants, we’re so thankful to everyone in our community who makes our programs possible… a special shout out here to our awesome program staff team! These guys work so hard to put on a wide variety of activities each week – all of them including a second level of “intentional” learning. At BLAST Grenoble, program leaders organized a fantastic healthy eating game. Participants got to construct their own yummy fruit kebobs… and then took it in turns to reveal something about themselves to their new program friends with each yummy fruit chunk. So our kids got to learn about healthy eating AND each other!

Learning Life Skills

Meanwhile, kids at BLAST Gateway were developing important life-skills as the learned to make Pita Pizzas…and then sampling their delicious handy work! At BLAST, participants take part in cooking workshops weekly. Twice a month they focus on creating a specifically healthy meal, but there is always a focus on the elements of basic nutrition, what making healthy choices looks like and why balance is important.

There are still spots left at all three locations and all spaces are subsidized; the highest amount parents pay is $125 for 5 days a week for the whole school year! Register your child for BLAST here.

We’re excited to welcome back our Youth LED and VITAL programs, this week. If you would like to register your child for any of these programs, visit here:

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help kids by supporting Moorelands after school programs

How You Can Help Kids By Supporting Moorelands After-school Programs

After-school Program = Setting Kids Up For Success

Read on to learn what can be achieved this fall at Moorelands After-school programs with your help!

after-school programs - blast boy reading

Improved Academic Results

Kids from low-income neighbourhoods are falling behind their middle-class peers – reports confirm economic disparities result in academic disparities. At BLAST after-school program, super fun activities teach kids, grades 1-6, vital skills needed to succeed in school… PLUS we offer homework help every day. Amira, a BLAST parent told us: “The wide-ranging activities kids do help them learn and understand different things. That includes science, arts and crafts and reading.”

after-school program - youth LED kids

Benefits to Mental Health

Kids affected by poverty are 3X more likely to experience isolation and depression. 78% of Youth LED after-school program kids, grades 7 and 8, told us that Youth LED helped them feel safer, more confident and make new friends.  Maia, told us: “Moorelands has taught me about being safe and being confident and trying my best.”



Reduced Behaviour Issues

Kids growing up in poverty are more likely to engage in/are at-risk of delinquent behaviours. You can affect these behaviours by supporting any Moorelands after-school program. All Moorelands kids and youth develop leadership skills Daveed, age 15 and enrolled in VITAL, told us: “Something I learned that will help me outside of Moorelands is being respectful. Even if someone is mean to someone else, I now have ways to diffuse the situation and get them to stop.”

after-school program and heatlthy kids

Healthier, More Active Kids

There’s a direct correlation between neighbourhood income and kids being at risk of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. 94% of parents reported that they felt the BLAST program encouraged their child to be more active. Rupal, a BLAST parent told us: “Now my kids are more self-confident and more active… It’s safe, affordable and fun!”


after-school program - smiling girl at BLAST

A Safe Space to Learn & Grow

Toronto is ‘Canada’s child poverty capital.’ Many working parents cannot afford childcare after school. All spots at Moorelands After-school programs are subsidized and geared to income. Leisha, a BLAST parent, told us: “The program helps me to make my crazy schedule easier. Being a full-time working mom I do appreciate all your help. Knowing Moorelands is there for my kids to ensure their safety and encourage them to be better kids – it means we will all have a stronger future, together.”

You can help kids achieve these positive outcomes by supporting our after-school programs today.

Donate online here: Donate

Scotiabank Training Weekends 2017

Scotiabank Staff Training Weekends 2017

If you really want to be a successful leader, you must develop other leaders around you. You must develop a team of leaders!”  John C. Maxwell

Staff Training - Developing Moorelands Leaders

Scotiabank staff training 2017

Moorelands staff members are an integral part of our after-school programs. We are so fortunate to receive generous funding for our staff training from Scotiabank to prepare staff for the important job ahead of them. Our staff training is focused on how team members can support Toronto kids in their leadership development. Team building and leadership focused activities are used to help staff build trust, connections and their own personal leadership skills.

Know, Grow, Show

Over several training sessions in September, staff learn about our inclusive culture, values and commitment to Positive Youth Development; Moorelands leadership habits and qualities; creating fun and engaging activities for our participants that help them know, grow and show; and how to ensure a safe and healthy environment for everyone at Moorelands.

At Moorelands We Are Intentional

Our staff training is vigorous because at Moorelands we are intentional: We intend that children will gain skills, experience personal growth, gain confidence and make friends because they have been to Moorelands. Therefore, it’s important that our staff leaders are intentional too. At staff training they learn how to plan activities with a purpose, create teachable moments and maximize the opportunities they have to positively influence the children and youth we serve.

Our after-school program staff are awesome and we can’t wait for them to demonstrate their skills in our BLAST, YOUTH LED and VITAL leadership programs in Thorncliffe Park and Flemington Park. All spots in our programs are subsidized. If you’d like to learn more about our programs or complete an application form for your child online, click here.

We’re so excited for after-school programs to start again next week. Thank you, Scotiabank, for giving our staff the opportunity to develop the tools both they, and our kids, need to succeed.

Moorelands Logo - help us help kids

JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST

JaysCare Baseball Clinic

Baseball comes to BLAST thanks to the JaysCare Foundation!

On May 31, 2017, the JaysCare Foundation stopped by Moorelands BLAST to lead a baseball clinic for our kids!

Our three different BLAST programs came together and had an amazing time honing important physical literacy skills. The fantastic JaysCare staff led a whole bunch of exciting activities that taught our kids about different aspects of Baseball. Moorelands staff were so proud of the way BLAST kids demonstrated their learning about respect and responsibility and working as a team!

Check out all the pumped up, smiling faces in the pics below! Click on any image to see a larger version.

THANK YOU JaysCare for your support of Moorelands kids!

JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST
JaysCare Baseball Clinic at BLAST

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Shooting Hoops and Developing Physical Literacy Skills

BLAST builds Physical Literacy Skills

BLAST Thorncliffe have been having fun with basketball! As part of their regular programming, kids get 50 minutes of activity every day. Once a week this time is used to specifically build physical literacy skills and this month they’ve been shooting hoops!

Our physical literacy specialist rotates around each BLAST site to ensure high-quality physical literacy skills teaching. Check out the basketball drills in the video above.

How Physical Literacy at BLAST works

At Moorelands BLAST, we help participants access the many benefits of building Physical Literacy skills in a low-pressure way.

Each month the BLAST program leader picks a different sport, like basketball. Then each week leaders teach the participants fundamental skills that are needed to play that game. Learning these physical literacy skills will result in participants becoming more confident playing the game in the future. At the end of the month, everyone will play the game or an adapted version of the game, which includes all of the fundamental skills previously learned.

BLAST builds Physical Literacy Skills
BLAST builds Physical Literacy Skills
BLAST builds Physical Literacy Skills
BLAST builds Physical Literacy Skills
BLAST builds Physical Literacy Skills

Our Youth LED youth leadership programs for middle school students at Valley Park returns next week. You can still register here.

To register for our other program including BLAST and Moorelands Camp, visit
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Proactive vs. Reactive: explaining the science behind dancing raisins

Proactive vs Reactive: BLAST explores reactions

“To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction.”  Sir Isaac Newton

BLAST Kids Experiment with Dancing Raisins

Proactive vs Reactive: Participants wait patiently to answer questions about the experiment
Participants wait patiently to answer questions about the experiment

The kids at BLAST Grenoble recently took part in a science experiment: Dancing Raisins! Once a week, participants in our BLAST program take part in fun science projects. The aim is to give them a better understanding of scientific principles and gain competence.

In the Dancing Raisins experiment, kids explore what happens when the carbon dioxide in pop reacts with raisins.

Wacky Science

Because of the difference in density between the liquid in the pop and the raisins, it appears as though the raisins are dancing.

BLAST kids had fun making hypotheses about what they thought would happen to the raisins when they mixed with the soda. Then they really enjoyed observing the raisins dance!

Proactive vs. Reactive: getting the soda ready
Getting the soda ready and making hypotheses.
Proactive vs. Reactive: working well in teams
BLAST kids worked well in teams as they observed the "dancing" raisins!

Proactive vs Reactive

Just like all activities at Moorelands, there was also a second layer of learning. Throughout the activity, leaders took the opportunity to discuss being proactive vs reactive with the kids.

At Moorelands, we focus on the importance of being proactive rather than reactive in our behaviour. That is to say, unlike the raisins, we have a choice in how we behave and react. We’re responsible for our actions and we should always stop and think about their consequences.

Kids will also learn great leadership lessons like proactive vs reactive up a Moorelands Camp Moorelands Camp this summer… and registration is open now!

PLUS, Youth LED for middle school students at Valley Park returns in March and there are still a few spaces left in all our BLAST after school programs. To register for BLAST, Youth LED or Moorelands Camp visit

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Proactive vs Reactive - register for Moorelands Camp
A BLAST participant shows caring by making Zinnia a card for valentine's day.

Moorelands BLAST Show Caring for Valentine’s Day

Sharing and Caring at BLAST

This week BLAST Thorncliffe have been thinking about caring and how they can show they care -just in time for Valentine’s Day!

In an arts and crafts activity, BLAST kids were encouraged to make a card for someone they cared about – maybe a family member, friend or teacher – and think about why it’s important to show people that you care about them.

Caring is one of Moorelands character qualities that we help kids develop in our programs. Through activities and debriefs we help them explore why it’s important to be kind and compassionate; to express gratitude and forgive others; as well as to help those in need.

Helping out with the fun were some of our VITAL volunteers from our high school leadership program. They got a chance to lead some of the group activities, developing their communication and listening skills.

Check out the pictures of our kids having fun showing they care!

There are still some spaces in our BLAST programs which take place at Thorncliffe Park PS, Gateway PS and Grenoble PS. Click the button below to learn more and register.

Participants set goals through vision boarding

BLAST Kids Set Goals and Shoot for the Stars

“The greater danger for most of us isn’t that our aim is too high and miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” ~ Michelangelo

BLAST Learn to Set Goals and Put First Things First

Participants set goals through vision boarding
The vision board instructions

One of the leadership habits practised at BLAST focuses on teaching kids to set goals and put first things first.

At Moorelands, we recognise the inherent value and potential of all children and youth. Our programs help participants build skills, like goal setting, that will help them actualize their potential.

In a recent arts and craft activity at BLAST Thorncliffe, participants got to create “vision boards”. The activity was used to help kids think “big picture” and set goals for their future. Throughout the activity, BLAST leaders used questioning to help kids consider what steps they would need to take to achieve their goals and focus on putting first things first.

Check out the pics:

Shooting for the Stars!

Over at BLAST Gateway, kids have been setting different kinds of goals… goals of a physical literacy nature! In the month of January, BLAST Gateway kids were focused on improving basketball skills and learning to shoot, dribble and pass the ball.

By focusing on an individual skill each week, participants are able to work towards building up their overall confidence and competence in basketball. Our intention is that through improving their skills, kids will not only become more adept on the basketball court but will become more active outside of the BLAST program and develop a lifelong love of sporting activity.

Don’t forget, our Youth LED youth leadership programs for middle school students will return to Valley Park Middle School after March Break. This nine-week program will take place after school on Thursdays and will focus on fun, hands-on leadership skill building activities. Register online here.
Moorelands logo: creating leadership opportunities for Toronto kids

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