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

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Moorelands early registration - Apply For Camp 2018

Early Registration Open for Moorelands Camp 2018!

Early registration is open for Moorelands Camp 2018! We already have 24 applications in for the upcoming summer, so don’t delay.

And don’t forget, we’re running our “early bird” contest again this year: get your *completed* application in by January 26th and be entered into a draw to win a family night out! ($50 cineplex gift card and $50 restaurant gift card).

Moorelands Camp is calling!


Apply Online


Need more info? Check out our camp page.

Still got questions? Send us a message below!

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!
Moorelands Logo - help us help kids

St. Timothy's Work Weekend

St. Timothy’s Work Weekend 2017

“When I see pictures of kids at camp – on benches we have made, enjoying the archery area, the PFD’s hanging to dry, the faces of the campers, and the stories of a campers growth… I’m proud to know we have had a small role to play in this place.”

St. Timothy’s Anglican Church Volunteers


At Moorelands, we teach our kids about the importance of service leadership – the idea that a leader exists to serve and help others be the best they can be.  One great example of this is the St. Timothy’s work weekend.

Members of St. Timothy’s congregation have been coming up to Moorelands Camp to volunteer for over 20 years.  Over this year’s weekend, these fantastic volunteers donated more than 200 hours of labour. Not only did they build, repair, paint and clean up but they got to spend some good church-family bonding time.

We’re so in awe of the age range of volunteers – from toddlers to seniors – everyone pitched in to help!

Jane Hutchinson, who organizes the weekend along with Christie Stevenson, has been coming up to help since 1997. She explains that the idea to volunteer at Moorelands first came about as part of the church’s outreach and fellowship and it continues to be a multi-generational project with around 40 volunteers each summer.

She fondly remembers coming up to camp with her daughter, Rachel, 20 years ago and sleeping in a wilderness cabin with no electricity… a cabin which they ended up sharing with a family of chipmunks!

Jane and Rachel have witnessed many changes at camp over the years but also appreciate how the camp changed them too:


“Our first project was to build a cabin with wood siding – we had no idea that we could do it! But we all encouraged each other and learned. It was amazing. Skilled volunteers showed us how to use the tools and we developed confidence in ourselves. It’s one of the things that’s brought us back to volunteer year after year.”
Today, she and Rachel continue their support and are now joined by Rachel’s nieces and son!

Jane is grateful for the opportunity to “help a worthy cause and spend time enjoying the scenic setting and fresh air. I appreciate the community spirit and the knowledge that we are doing something that is of benefit to Moorelands…

“I know that everyone is so thankful that we can help provide a camp experience to children who can’t afford it. I personally feel blessed that my own children didn’t have to strive for that. I’m happy that I can help other children have opportunities that my children were able to have.”

Christie adds, The goals and values of Moorelands just seem to make such good sense: Providing opportunities for kids to grow and develop as responsible citizens. Through volunteer opportunites, I’ve met kids who were campers/leaders, and are now educated and working and giving back. Proof that Moorelands works! I feel this is an organization I want to support – and it is brilliant to be able to contribute in tangible ways.”

Over the years, the congregation of St. Timothy’s have supported Moorelands’ children in many other ways – from financial donations to participating in Christmas Sharing. We’re so thankful to our friends at St. Timothy’s for all that they do. And a big special thank you to Christie and Jane for providing leadership and planning a great event for all.

Moorelands Logo - help us help kids

#GivingTuesday is November 28th!

This #GivingTuesday, your support can give even more kids the opportunity to build some “campfire confidence” at Moorelands.

Giving Tuesday 2017

One of our amazing donors has offered a MATCHING GIFT! If we raise $3,600 on November 28th, this generous anonymous donor will match your gifts and double your impact!

Visit: to learn more about how you can give back and spread the word about Moorelands on November 28th!


Countdown to #GivingTuesday…

GivingTuesday Countdown
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.


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

Why Volunteer? 5 Reasons Why Volunteering Can Help You Secure Your Dream Job.

Why volunteer? Volunteering is not just a great way to give back to your community, it can also give you the extra push you need to get your dream job or at least get your foot into the industry of your choice. It will help you gain experience, build your network and boost your resume.

Gain experience

Volunteering in your industry allows you to gain experience and insider knowledge. The classroom doesn’t always do the best job of conveying the intricacies of an industry or giving you hands-on experience. Through volunteering, you can gain industry knowledge and gain useful experience. You can learn about workflows, how companies or departments operate, and what the expectation for employees are.

Networking Opportunities 

You can use your position as a volunteer to network. Talk to as many people as you can, find out about the industry, about their experience in the field, etc. You can gain a lot of insight into the industry through networking. Not only that but you never know what positive effects can come from someone in your network. For example, a graphic designer I know was asked to design a logo for a small organization, but that organization needed someone to create their website. Being in each other’s network, she recommended me for the role. It was a great step forward in my career.

Confidence builder

It can be scary going into a new industry or a new job especially if it’s for the first time. Volunteering allows you to shake off the fear. The learning curve when starting a new job can be intimidating; it can shake your confidence. Volunteering can help build that confidence and help ease the transition into a new job and work environment. Picking a career can be a stressful decision but volunteering allows you to try working in an industry that you’re interested in. You can figure out your career goals without making too much of an investment.

Two girls at the lake.

Resume booster

The experience, skills, and knowledge you get from volunteering can be translated onto your resume. Whether or not the volunteering you do is industry specific you will be developing important leadership skills such as communication and teamwork skills.

Additionally, you may be able to develop skills that you need to further your career that you are unable to hone in your current job. Let’s say, for example, you are currently working in customer service but would like to move into project management. Volunteering for a charity that is working on a big event can offer you the chance to gain some important project management skills to add to your resume. So the next time you go in for an interview you can show that have workplace experience, leadership skills, and/or knowledge of the industry.

Foot in the door

Volunteering in your industry or the company you want to work for allows you to get your foot in the door. Sure it’s an unpaid position, but the benefits of your volunteer work outweigh the rest. Through a volunteer position, you can show your work ethic, professionalism, and knowledge outside of an interview. It will leave a stronger impression on the people around you and can lead to a paid position in the company.


Seek volunteer opportunities as much as you seek paid opportunities.

Written by Vimbai Chikoore

Teamwork tips for introverts - fun at the leadership retreat

Teamwork Tips for Introverts: How to Work Well with Others

When you think of the word “introvert”, what comes to mind? For many of us, we tend to think of someone who is shy, reserved, and who can’t stand being around groups of people.

The truth is, there’s so much more to introverts than that! While introverts do prefer to be on their own, this doesn’t mean that they can’t succeed in a group environment. In fact, when introverts learn to use their talents correctly, they can make fantastic leaders. Did you know that Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Bill Gates were all introverts? Not to mention J.K. Rowling, for any of you Harry Potter fans!

But just how exactly can an introverted child learn to use their talents correctly?

We live in a world where teamwork is a daily part of children’s lives – whether it’s at school, camp, or even among their friends. These types of group environments tend to favour extroverted behavior. But does this mean that introverted children won’t do well in team environments? Not at all!

We’ve listed below 3 tips on how introverted children can learn to work well in a team environment:


Extroverts gain energy around other people, and lose energy when they are on their own. Introverts, on the contrary, gain energy when they are alone and lose energy around other people. When an introverted child is in a team environment, it’s important for them to recognize when they need a break. If they begin to feel overwhelmed, a little bit of “alone time” can make all the difference. Taking a bathroom break or stepping outside will recharge their energy levels and help them to feel more at ease when they return to the group.

Young boy smiling while holding up both her thumbs

Focus on one person at a time

two girls working with each on a science experiment

Extroverts have a natural talent for communicating with multiple people at once. Introverts, as you can imagine, are a little bit different – they do much better in one-on-one situations. Introverted children can use this to their advantage by sharing their ideas with one team member at a time instead of with the entire group all at once. This will help them contribute in a way that is comfortable to them, and that allows them to fully express themselves to the best of their ability.

Find the role that fits best

When it comes to teamwork, it’s no surprise that extroverts do well when they take on speaking roles. Introverts, on the other hand, do much better when they take on “quieter” roles. In particular, introverts have great problem-solving skills, and can work diligently on one task longer than extroverts can. On top of that, they also tend to be more creative. They are great at spending time on their own and coming up with innovative ideas. It’s important for an introverted child to understand that even though they may not be as talkative, their unique talents are still valuable to the team.

Teamwork is a necessary part of growing up, and it doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking experience for introverts. By following these 3 tips, introverted children will not only learn to develop the life-long skill of working with others, but also start to enjoy it, as well!

By Natalie Burns-Holland

The Top 5 Leadership Mistakes And How To Overcome Them

As you cultivate your array of leadership skills you’re bound to make mistakes, we all do, but good leaders learn from them, improve and better themselves. So here is some advice on how to overcome your leadership mistakes.

Being Aggressive

Being aggressive means showing excessive force when it’s not needed. Aggressive behavior does not motivate people. It diminishes trust, commitment, and even safety. As a leader you want your team to feel comfortable in their work environment. You want them to respect you and feel passionate about their work. Aggressive behavior can ruin that, so instead be encouraging, compassionate, understanding and stern. It’s okay to say no and make sure your team meets their goals but do it positively.

Discouraging Creativity

Creativity drives innovation, and on a smaller scale, it allows for good ideas to become better. Every new idea pitched won’t be great, and it might not be something you would want to implement. The act of being creative is powerful but it’s a skill, and like any other skill, you need to work at it. Most often the best and most creative ideas don’t come randomly, they come from hard work and problem-solving. So don’t discourage creativity, make it a priority.

Bad Communication

Communication is the lifeblood of human relationships, and in team environments, it can be the cause of success or failure. For effective communication, pay attention the tone you set; create a respectful listening environment and be straightforward. As a leader, it’s your job to set the tone for communication in your team by explaining yourself clearly. Setting the tone early will frame all communication with the team for the rest of the project. Listening is the most important communication skill; people need to be heard and feel like they matter. Lastly, be straightforward, as a leader you are going to have tough conversations and dancing around the issue can lead misunderstandings and miscommunication. So don’t be afraid to say what needs to be said, no matter how tough it may be.

Resisting Change

As a leader, you need to be flexible because change will become a constant in your life. Accepting change can be difficult, scary, emotionally draining and discouraging but resisting it can be worse. If someone on your team has found a new and better way to solve a problem, then embrace that change. It will be better in the long run. Keep in mind that not all change is good, use your judgment to decide when it is best to embrace change.

Only Looking At the Big Picture

If you’re only looking at the end of the road, you’re not going to see everything that comes before it. As a leader, you need to have a strong idea and understanding of not only the end goal but everything that is required to reach it. You need to know what resources, talents, and skills that you will need but also what problems you will face along the way. Having this foresight will allow things to run smoother. It doesn’t mean you won’t face problems; it just means you will be ready for them. So before you start your next project or even as you’re working on your current one, map out your goals; big and small, and list all potentials problems.

Remember that we all make mistakes, but we can improve by learning from them, taking what we learned and applying it.


Written by Vimbai Chikoore