The YMCA plans to offer an innovative, 6-month youth leadership initiative for 12 students in Grades 9 to 12 from Sarnia and surrounding First Nations communities. This project follows the successful YMCA Project Kenya which occurred in Sarnia-Lambton (2012-2013), Project Guatemala in Chatham-Kent (2014-2015), and Project North (2017, 2018 , 2019).
The YMCA’s Youth Leadership Initiative is designed to build upon the YMCA’s rich tradition of providing quality, values-based programs and services for young people. This unique project will involve participants in a wide variety of leadership development experiences with a special focus on community service and philanthropy. Successful applicants will gain insight into their personal leadership potential and abilities, group dynamics, communication, volunteerism and philanthropy. They will also develop a new perspective and sense of responsibility as members of the global community.
After months of training, raising money, research and planning, participants will embark on a trip to Alberta. The group will partner with local communities and their youth in hands-on community service projects. Additionally, the group will participate in a guided outdoor adventure and experience some of the unique cultural and natural highlights in this part of the country.
This project has many potential impacts, bringing together a group of young people who have committed to an incredible, 6-month leadership development initiative. These participants will need to be extremely motivated to learn and grow and make a difference in their community. This project will create an opportunity for the YMCA to work in partnership with the community, including Sarnia’s surrounding First Nations communities. The project will also help to increase the YMCA’s profile as an organization committed to youth and leadership development.
The project creates a tremendous opportunity for participants to learn more about fundraising and embrace philanthropy. The impact of 12 engaged young people developing their leadership potential will have a cumulative impact on their families, schools, friends and the greater community.