One of the greatest skills we can teach our children is how to be leaders. For some, it comes naturally, while others may need a little help. Either way, once they gain leadership skills, it can set them up for life — whether they want to earn a spot on their school’s student council, are aiming to get into a prestigious post-secondary school or desire to exceed in their part-time job. These skills can also carry them through into adulthood as it teaches them about perseverance, negotiation and decision-making.
Muskoka Woods has a CEO program for teens ages 15 to 17, with one major goal in mind: to inspire a new generation of leaders. To be considered for the four-week program on Lake Rosseau, teens must first submit an application and complete an interview. However, once accepted, it promises to be a life-changing experience.
Designed for students entering Grades 10 to 12, guests of the program will benefit from the knowledge of real-world leaders who come in as guest speakers to offer insight, inspiration, hands-on instruction and workshops. Not only do teens participating in the program get first-hand advice and insight but graduates of the program can also earn a Grade 11 leadership credit.
The CEO program is powered by Eagle’s Flight, a world leader in business training programs with clients like Nike, Parmalat and AT&T. As part of the program, CEOs will have access to Eagle’s Flight’s top workshops and experiential programs designed to help the CEOs grow in their leadership development. CEOs will also learn about self-discovery through participation in the Personal Profile System — a program that will help CEOs understand their behavioural profile and identify the environment most conducive to their success. At the same time, they will learn about the differences of others and the environment they need for productivity and teamwork.
Teens in the CEO program will also learn about setting goals, communicating effectively, being assertive, having self-confidence and choosing a career path. But they won’t just learn by talking, they’ll learn by hands-on experiences. In fact, the program begins with a four-day camping trip in Algonquin Park — just the first of many challenges teens will tackle. The month-long experience is all about pushing boundaries, facing fears and feeling a sense of accomplishment. They’ll learn to take risks, instruct the arts and athletics activities and mentor and counsel the younger guests.
Each CEO will spend three weeks in either the athletic or arts areas. They will observe the class, job shadow the instructor, learn about the preparation and planning process, assist in leading a class, and be evaluated as they lead a class on their own. In addition to co-counselling a cabin with a Muskoka Woods staff member, participants will assist the staff in planning and facilitating evening programs for the camp’s younger guests. They will also have the opportunity to work in the kitchen, Camp Store or office to experience the full spectrum of jobs offered at Muskoka Woods.
However, it’s not all work and no play. CEOs will also be able to participate in many of the fun activities offered at Muskoka Woods as well as unique evening programs that are exclusive to the CEO Leadership Program. By the end, participants will be well-equipped to be CEO of their own life — a prestigious title that comes with a lot of perks.
Rachel is the publisher of inBetween magazine geared towards parents of teens and young adults. Mom to her 12-year-old son, her more than 20 years of experience in journalism have been spent researching and writing about issues closest to families. Rachel, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, she now lives with her husband and their son in Toronto.