“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader success is all about growing others.” Jack Welch
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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org