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The Highlights of 2023 Growing Leadership

January 23, 2024

Written by Netra Rao Kangarla, Youth Summer Staff

Through various activities, games, and workshops, the five-week GROW Youth Camp seeks to foster leadership traits in young people in Scarborough Ontario, aged 11 to 17 years. This year’s program was set up to have a weekly allocated theme related to leadership. An example would be teamwork, which included a variety of entertaining games (i.e. an elastic cup stacking game, escape room, “Michael Myers,” Capture the Flag, etc.) and workshops like “How to be an Effective Communicator and the 5 Styles of Communication”. This year, a points-based system was implemented within groups, where participants could earn points through games and activities and had the opportunity to use them in a variety of ways, such as spending points on prizes to inspire them further. The purpose of this system was to help develop good spending habits. In the second last week, the youth took on the huge responsibility of facilitating activities for the children, a tradition of GROW, to demonstrate their abilities. “It was a good learning experience for me; it helped me develop communication and leadership skills for school and beyond” a past participant and current worker of the program Ami Junior, stated. The program this year also included side perks, such as volunteer hours, excursions, and gift cards!

Youth participants had 30 minutes to construct a structure out of 20 spaghetti sticks and marshmallows during Week 2: Problem Solving and Critical Thinking. The five tests — wind, shake, height, weight, and aesthetics — determined which tower met the best criteria. The image shows Group 2 assembling their marshmallow structure.

The youth facilitated games and activities for children. Above is a photo of Team 4 leading Octopus for the children and youth. “It helped me learn how to communicate and collaborate with others and also allowed me to step up,” Shuna, a three-year GROW participant, expressed.

The participants had to perform a series of activities and puzzles to find the key that would unlock the escape room. The image above captures a team discovering a hint. This challenge enabled the campers to exercise their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.

“Why are you late?” is a variation on charades. The campers were required to provide the “Boss” an explanation for why the “Employee” was late while they were absent. When the “Employee” enters the room, the others must justify themselves, when the “Boss” is not looking. This entertaining game required effective nonverbal communication and coordination.