“Are your children born leaders?”

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Are your children born leaders?

There is little doubt that many are born with personality traits, natural talent and abilities that support being a leader.  Even these naturally gifted individuals need opportunities to develop their talents, practice & master skills and acquire knowledge and experience to maximize their “born leader” potential.

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For those not naturally inclined to be leaders, there is also the opportunity to become a “made leader” by investing time and effort.  Much of what makes a great leader is behavioral and behaviors can be learned.

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According to the Stanford University Center for Sustainable Development and Global Competitiveness (CSDGC):

“The Center for Sustainable Development and Global Competitiveness (CSDGC) at Stanford University recognizes that the development of leadership and creativity begins at a very early age, soon after the experience of discovery.

Many of us, through exposure to popular media, largely associate leadership with professional adults who are in executive management roles in politics, government, or business. However, if we reflect on our life experiences, we notice that leadership opportunities really begin in youth and this is where the most influential leadership life lessons emerge. In this expanded leadership framework, we can begin to identify a sequence of leadership objectives at various age stages that help us adopt differentiated methods for fostering leadership development.”

There are many ways to develop leadership skills in youth including participation in minor sports, youth organizations like Boy Scouts & Girl Guides, programs provided by agencies like the Boys & Girls Club and optional courses in schools.

In 2017, Volunteer Airdrie will be launching its LEAD Youth Leadership & Volunteer Development Program for ages 12 to 18.

“LEAD” stands for Leadership, Empowerment, Achieving a Difference.

In 2003, the City of Calgary, Community Services Department recognized that the demographics and needs of Calgary’s youth were changing and that, through leadership development initiatives, there was the potential to respond to these emerging demographic shifts in a coordinated, effective and efficient way.

Through 2006 – 2008, the LEAD Youth Leadership Program was developed by reviewing existing leadership programs, research trends and understanding the needs of the target audience.

The LEAD program was launched in January of 2008; in that first year 90 youth participated in the programs offered.  Since then, over 750 youth have taken the program, which is used to train youth volunteers for many of the City of Calgary’s Parks & Recreation Department children’s programs.

The LEAD program includes 9 learning modules covering topics such as Leadership, Communication, Personal Wellness, Planning & Organizing, Diversity, Conflict Management, Teamwork, Problem Solving and Leisure Education.  Groups meet weekly for 2 hours to learn about a topic through a series of activities, games and group discussion facilitated by a certified trainer.

Volunteer Airdrie has two Board members that have completed the Facilitator training.  We also plan to make it a free 10 week after school program by adding a topic to each program depending upon the age group.  Groupings will be based on age, such as 12-13, 14-16 and 17-18 and each group will be capped at 20 participants.  Each group will have 1-2 instructors to ensure adequate supervision and support during the learning sessions.

In addition to the 20 hours of instruction, each participant will complete a 20 hour practicum of community service volunteering to provide opportunities to further develop and practice their new leadership skills.  Volunteer Airdrie will organize, facilitate and track the volunteer activities to ensure the time is used in a meaningful and effective way.

Upon completion of the 10 week program requirements, each child will receive a framed certificate. Completing the modules for a LEAD certificate leads to credibility, recognition and opportunities at school, work and in the community.

Volunteer Airdrie believes that its LEAD program provides an excellent alternative to other programs for low income families since it is free of charge.  It will also be conveniently located at the Airdrie Town & Country Community Hall, which is walking distance from a number of schools and will reduce the need for parents to drive their kids to the program.  As an after school program, it will also be convenient for those youth that have other evening commitments in minor sports.

Volunteer Airdrie has already garnered the support of the Airdrie Rotary Club, which is investing $980 towards quality frames for the LEAD certificates.

Development of Airdrie’s youth volunteers using the LEAD program supports Volunteer Airdrie’s new vision, mission and strategic focus areas.

Stay tuned for announcements on registration scheduled for late November or early December by liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter!

Is your child ready to take the next step in becoming a leader?

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