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Co-operative Young Leaders Program

Through the Ontario Co-operative Association, Ontario credit unions and co-operatives are providing young people with the opportunity to attend the Co-operative Young Leader (CYL) program every summer -- an experience unlike any other. 

This week-long initiative brings young people aged 14-18 together from all across Ontario. CYLers learn about, and practice, communication and leadership through co-operative activities, and facilitates further engagement in their co-ops and their communities when they return home. CYL also provides adult professional development through its facilitator training programs. 
Since its inception in 1967 to its 48th year in 2015, over 3,000 young people have gone through Ontario CYL programs.

This week-long initiative brings young people aged 14-18 together from all across Ontario. CYLers learn about, and practice, communication and leadership through co-operative activities, and facilitates further engagement in their co-ops and their communities when they return home. CYL also provides adult professional development through its facilitator training programs. 

2018 marks the 51st year of the program, and since its inception in 1967, over 3,300 young people have gone through Ontario CYL programs. 

Happy New Year young leaders, it's almost that time again!

Leaders, team players, volunteers, creative minds, entrepreneurs, and anyone who likes to take on a new challenge: CYL will equip you to stand out from your peers, and define yourself as a co-operative leader. 

This is a challenge – a life-changing opportunity – for young people between the ages of 14 and 18.  Bring your skills, your dreams and ideas, or “just” your unlimited potential. Because YOUth are not only the future of the co-operative movement, youth are right here, right now, making a difference in their communities. 

CYL 2018 Registration will open Friday February 23, 2018. Speak with your co-ops and credit unions about being sponsored for the 2018 program! 


CYL is moving! The program now has a home at the Co-operative Education Centre (CEC) near Aylmer, ON (more info to come). CYL 2018 will comprise of FIVE weeks of programing, and each will take place starting on a Sunday and ending on a Friday. 




Facilitator Training Weekend


May 25-26

Base Camp (for 12-13 y/o)


June 1-3

Senior Session


July 8-13

Intermediate Session


July 15-20

Junior A Session


July 22-27

Junior B Session


July 29- August 3

Junior C Session


August 5-10


    Junior and Intermediate rates $895 + HST. Senior rates $970 + HST.                                                Non-member sponsors please add $250.

    For the Ontario Co-operative Association membership rates and information, click here.


    More information on our exciting new location to come! 


    Facilitator training consists of a series of three webinars and an one onsite overnight +full day facilitator training session.  To facilitate, participation in the training is mandatory. Go to the "Becoming a Facilitator" page in the the top-right menu to learn more.


    • CYL 101: Recorded webinar has been sent to those who need to complete this session (Mandatory for new facilitators and non CYL alumni)
    • Facilitation & Communication Techniques: Link to webinar will be sent to all facilitators
    • Conflict Resolution: Link to webinar will be sent to all facilitators 


    • Facilitator Training Session: May 25-26, 2018 at the CEC near Aylmer, ON. 



    We encourage ALL co-op and credit union staff and members to indentify promising new participants to be part of CYL 2017, but there are others ways you can help too.

    CYL sponsorship is a great way to redefine the way your co-op or credit union engages with youth.  Embrace the transformative potential of youth leadership. By partnering with CYL as a program sponsor, or sponsoring CYL participants, you will create opportunities for young co-operators to emerge as leaders. 

    The benefits of sponsorship may include:            

    • Capable youth on your Board of Directors
    • Energizing speeches and presentations at your AGM
    • Real-time status updates on your social media sites
    • Co-op connections across Ontario
    • Newsletter and blog contributions
    • Visionary leadership for your organization
    • Invest in the future of the co-operative movement


    CYL is truly an experience unlike any other, for both young people and adults! It is a leadership development program for youth, an engagement program for co-ops and credit unions, and a professional development program for facilitators. 

    CYL brings young co-operators from across Ontario together with established co-op mentors in a relationship that embraces and enhances their leadership potential. This week-long summer session enables CYL participants to:

    • Connect
    • Collaborate
    • Play
    • Learn
    • Dream
    • Accomplish

    CYL is an experiential learning program which integrates co-operative principles with teambuilding practices, empowers youth to be visionaries, and equips them with the change-making tools they need to excel. They develop self-confidence, learn from inspiring guest speakers, and have a lot of fun with camp-like activities. Who knew that public speaking, and business conceptualization could be so exciting!

    CYL catalyzes relationships and equips participants with the skills for co-operative success. As accomplished leaders, CYL graduates stand out from their peers while applying for employment and post-secondary scholarships and admission.

    We encourage co-op and credit union sponsors to engage with the youth they sponsor around the calendar year. There are so many ways for youth to contribute to the life of the co-operative community: as Board members, as event organizers, as community builders, as social media contributors…The leadership potential of our youth is limited only by your imagination!  Embrace the energy of these young achievers: they are the most enthusiastic and inspiring brand ambassadors around!

    CYL graduates and facilitators learn valuable skills and gain critical knowledge of the co-operative sector. An investment in CYL strengthens partnering co-ops and credit unions, and secures the future of the co-op movement.   


    If you would like to subscribe to the CYL Newsletter, simply enter your email address in the box on the top-right section of the screen. Chose the CYL Newsletter and confirm your subscription! 


    "Two of my three children (so far) have attended the camp and it has changed their lives, and mine too. How can a week-long camp have that kind of impact? One of the things that CYL brings out in the youth is their self confidence, helping them believe in themselves, believe they can accomplish what they put their mind to, believe that speaking up for the right reasons at the right time is the right thing to do. This camp is helping my children develop into healthy, responsible, self assured adults. My advice? Send your kids to camp even if they think they don’t want to go! It’s an experience they’ll appreciate for the rest of their lives!"  Barb G., Parent

    "CYL was one of the greatest weeks in my life. I formed lifelong friendships and created memories that will last forever. "  David J., Participant

    "Jillian has truly benefitted from her experience with the CYL camp, with improved confidence, increased leadership initiative and overall focus on making a difference and leading by example. I believe that her time with the CYL camp helped solidify a strength within her that was there all along. The program activities, exercises and community have helped to bring this strength to life." Lee-Ann and Paul, Parents


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