GUELPH, Ontario, June 05, 2019 — The Co-operative Young Leaders Program (CYL) is embracing the responsible use of technology among youth, in an era where cell phones and social media are an inevitable part of our day-to-day lives.
For the first time, the annual summer camp has adopted its curriculum to teach its participants – aged fourteen to eighteen – how to effectively manage their technology usage.
“It is a fact of our daily lives that screen time is increasing throughout the world and having youth attend camp and not bring their cell phones is becoming more and more difficult and frankly unrealistic,” says Carol Fleming, the program’s Director. “At CYL, we believe that banning cellphones at camp does not teach them anything.”
In a time when many camps view cell phones as a distraction and are prohibiting them onsite, CYL camp participants will be encouraged to use their cell phones and tablets to complete surveys, do exercises using sites like Word Cloud, and more importantly, discussing when and how it is appropriate to use technology in both a personal and professional context.
Adopting and embracing technology at the summer camp is both a realistic and forward-thinking approach that allows us to educate youth on its proper usage, while we improve our sustainable business practices internally.
Adds Fleming: “From a curriculum perspective, we have adopted online programs for our program evaluations, moved our manuals and participant handouts to Google docs, and provided our facilitators with links to the site for the weekly curriculum so they no longer have to print binders and bring paper with them.”
The camp, now in its 52nd year, brings together youth from all across Ontario to teach them leadership, team-building and communications skills, while also expanding their knowledge of co-operative principles and the co-operative business model. Over 3,300 kids have gone through the program, with many past participants returning to facilitate and mentor the new batch of youth.
“We are excited to see how the program unfolds with these new initiatives, and hope the learnings experienced by our youth participants has a lasting, positive effect as they move into adulthood,” says Peter Cameron, Acting Executive Director of the Ontario Co-operative Association.
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