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CYL FAQ: Parents and Participants

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about CYL from parents and participants.

How do I get 2017 program information?

  • 2017 program information is constantly being added to the On Co-op CYL pages. Be sure to read it all, especially as the Program has evolved from previous years. 
  • On Co-op acknowledges every participant application and confirms acceptance into the CYL program. Registered and confirmed participants will receive a comprehensive program information package from On Co-op via email about two weeks before their program session. These packages will also be available for download from the 'Related Documents' section of this webpage.

Where are the CYL sessions held?

  • All CYL sessions will be held at the Albion Hills Field Centre which is located in the Albion Hills Conservation Area, eight kilometres north of Bolton in the Region of Peel, Ontario. Intersecting on this 446-hectare property are the Humber River and Taylor’s Creek, at one point dammed to form a recreational lake, Lake Albion. Learn more about Albion Hills at

How do I get to CYL?

  • Transportation to and from the site is the responsibility of the participants and their guardians. Neither On-Co-op, CYL staff nor the Facilitators can assume the responsibility of organizing individual rides, and/or pick-ups and drop-off’s.
  • In the past, On Co-op has offered bus service where financially and logistically feasible. In 2017, this is still an option, though service will run on the condition that we obtain financial support and the minimum traveler numbers to cover all costs.  

Why do I need a sponsor?

  • The CYL program is designed to embrace and enhance the leadership capacity of young people. We equip youth with the skills they need to excel as co-operative leaders.  A key component of this development program is the relationship built between sponsors and participants. Young participants and their sponsoring organization derive invaluable benefits from their year-round mentoring relationship.   
  • We value the co-operative nature of CYL. The program is sustained by On Co-op members, and by participant and program sponsors. It is staffed by volunteer Facilitators, many of whom are supported by their co-operative employer. CYL is a thriving example of the good that comes from co-operation. This model keeps CYL affordable and accessible, ensuring that youth have ample opportunities to emerge as leaders in the co-operative sector.
  • Every participant requires a sponsor. Most participants are members of their sponsor organization.  If you or your guardian(s) bank at a credit union, shop at a retail or agricultural co-op, live in a housing co-op, or get your phone service through a telecommunications co-op, you can apply to that organization for sponsorship.  They will be excited by your interest in co-operative leadership!  In many cases, they will agree to sponsor you, and pay for most of the costs involved.  Sponsors may require participants to make a personal contribution towards the cost of participation in CYL. This can come from personal funds, but On Co-op recommends that youth get their communities involved through fundraising events which also generate interest in co-operative youth leadership. 
  • Many co-ops recruit young members to send to CYL as part of their youth engagement strategies. Recruitment drives often occur very early in the year, in February or March. Co-ops and credit unions looking for CYL candidates may request that you meet with a branch manager, submit a letter of interest, or fill out an application form. This is your chance to strengthen your role as a youth leader in the organization! 
  • Please note that approval by a co-op or credit union to apply does NOT automatically guarantee admission by On Co-op into the CYL program. After securing sponsorship, the next stage in the application process is to apply to CYL through On Co-op’s website.

How much does it cost?

  • The cost of CYL participation is invoiced to the sponsoring co-op or credit union. 

    2017 rates for On Co-op member organizations are:
    Junior & Intermediate: $875+tax                                             
    Senior:                           $950+tax

    Sponsoring organizations may wish to separate this fee into two parts: a sponsor portion, and a portion that they expect the participant to contribute.  Some sponsors require participants to pay $200 towards their experience, for example.  Contact your sponsor to find out their payment structure.
  • *Most credit unions and co-operatives in Ontario are dues-paying members of On Co-op, or are members of a federation that is an On Co-op member (such as Central 1 Credit Union, CHF Canada, CWCF/OWCF, GROWMARK, Inc., OPPCEO and OSCA).  For a list of our current members, see the membership link at the top right of this page under "more information."
  • Non-member sponsors are subject to a $250 surcharge.

    What if I don't have a sponsor?

    • If you went to CYL previously, talk to the branch or the co-op which sponsored you last time. Maybe they don't realize that CYL is a multi-year program, and that each level builds on the one before it until you graduate and become a certified young leader!
    • If this is your first time going to CYL and you are not currently a member of a co-op, contact some of the co-ops in your area. You can find them by searching the internet for your town and the words “co-operative“ or “credit union“. We suggest visiting our directory of co-ops in Ontario, where you can search for co-ops in your area. Then, introduce yourself and make a good sales pitch for sending you to CYL.
    • If you still can't find a sponsor, contact On Co-op, and we'll try to link you up with a co-op or credit union in your area. Please only use this as a last resort. Be prepared though, because we'll ask what co-ops you or your family are members of, how you searched for a sponsor and who you've already contacted (remember, it's a leadership program).

    How do I apply?

    All Participant applications are made online. Registration online will open February 24, 2017. 

    • Before applying to CYL through On Co-op’s website, candidates must make arrangements for sponsorship. Requirements for sponsorship vary depending on the organization. Co-ops and credit unions may require their candidates to submit an essay or a statement of interest, fill out an application specific to that organization, or meet with a branch manager.
    • Once you have secured a sponsor, you will apply to CYL online, through On Co-op’s website. 
    • In 2017,our Junior and Intermediate weeks will run from Saturday afternoon until Friday afternoon. The Senior week will run from Saturday afternoon to the following Saturday.  We are offering the following CYL sessions:
    • SENIOR: 16-18 years old, or Intermediate grads. 
      July 8 - July 15, 2017 
    • INTERMEDIATE: 15-16 years old, or Junior grads.                                                                           July 15- July 21, 2017
    • JUNIOR: 14-15 years old. Participants must be at least 14 years old while at camp.
      A: July 22 - July 28, 2017
      B: July 29 - August 4, 2017
    • DISCLAIMER: In the event that the Junior weeks are not filling up as anticipated, we will make the decision to drop the Junior A week.  The decision on this will be made by April 28, 2017. 
    • Each session has a maximum capacity.  Apply as soon as possible to secure a spot in your preferred session.   
    • CYL is only offered in English.
    • Participants with disabilities are asked to contact the Program Co-ordinator prior to registering for the program.
    • Prior to applying online, gather medical records, health care information, contact information for your sponsor, and know which session you want to join.  All of this information will be required when applying online. 

    How do I know my CYL application has been accepted by On Co-op?

    • The online registration system will acknowledge receipt of the application once you have submitted all the information. If you do not receive an email within moments of sending in the application, check your junk mail or spam filter.
    • On Co-op will contact participants directly to confirm their application has been accepted or to request additional information.
    • Participants will receive a formal approval from On Co-op that they have been accepted into the CYL program.  
    • A welcome package containing important information, waivers, and program updates will be emailed to participants by On Co-op approximately two weeks prior to each session. Copies will also be posted on this webpage.
    • If your registration has not yet been confirmed by On Co-op, please email [email protected] to confirm your status.
    • Important: Acceptance by your sponsor does NOT necessarily guarantee admission to the CYL program by On Co-op.

    Once I've applied, how do I stay in touch with my sponsor?

    • Once you know you're participating in CYL visit your sponsor and get information on the organization. Try to find out what they do, what their mission is and something about their history. If possible, make an appointment and talk to one of the managers or staff members. You'll have the opportunity to talk about your sponsor during the program - this is a chance to show off the knowledge you've learned about your sponsor.
    • Once the program is over, most sponsors will request that you attend a board meeting, a staff meeting or a members' meeting and talk to the group about your time at CYL. They might ask that you send them a letter or write a short article for their newsletter. Or to participate in an event or two they hold during the year. It makes sense—they invested time and money in your application, and they want to hear what great things you did, what you learned and what you plan on doing with your new co-op skills.  These opportunities to engage with your community will enhance your leadership experience, and ensure that you continue to hone your skills.
    • And if they don't ask you to do anything once the program is over? CALL THEM and suggest that you do something (CYL is a leadership program after all). They will be impressed with your ability to take the initiative, and will be eager to help you find ways to contribute to the community. 
    • Keep in touch with your sponsor throughout the year. Call, email or drop in. You have all these great leadership skills and your co-op can benefit from them, too!

    Who leads the sessions?

    • At CYL we don't have "camp counsellors". Our program is run by a team of amazing volunteer Facilitators! These facilitators are enthusiastic adult co-operators from Ontario's diverse co-operative and credit union movement. The Facilitators share their wisdom, time and talents in order to develop our future co-op leaders.  Collectively, they provide thousands of hours (literally!) and immeasurable expertise to the CYL program.

    What will I be doing at CYL?

    Each day at CYL offers structured programming, with daily variations for field trips, speakers and other surprises. We provide ample time for activities, recreation, relationship building and reflection, interspersed throughout a program jam-packed with workshops, guest speakers, group work, and capacity-building sessions. 

    CYL has a proud legacy of creating inspiring programs and life-changing opportunities. 


    8:30 am


    9:15 am

    ROPES, Shout-outs, CYL Media Moments, Icergizers

    9:30 am

    Morning Session - co-operative activities and sessions

    12:00 pm  

    Lunch, followed by free time

    1:00 pm

    Afternoon Session - Field trip, activities or sessions

    4:15 pm

    Sports and Recreation

    5:30 pm


    6:30 pm

    Evening Session - assorted activities; free time

    9:30 pm

    Relaxation Moment, followed by Talking Stick or other group activity

    Some sessions include Guest Speakers and Fieldtrips.

    • If you're not sure what some of the above activities mean, don't worry—you'll learn all about them during your week at CYL!
    • Please make sure you bring your appetite! (And let us know on the On Co-op application form if you have any food sensitivities.)
    • Recreation activities may include: soccer, swimming, volleyball, basketball, ultimate frisbee, canoeing and hiking. You are free to bring your own sports or musical equipment, or other creative hobbies and ideas.

    What should I bring to CYL?

    Your week of CYL will be held at the Albion Hills Field Centre -- a casual camping experience, combining inside and outside activities, and occasional visits off-site. Participants may be sitting, walking, swimming, canoeing, playing sports, meeting with others or taking field trips. Here are the basics each participant should bring.


    • Shorts; long pants or jeans
    • Semi-formal clothes for the banquet
    • T-shirts; long-sleeved shirts; sweatshirts or sweaters
    • Running shoes or good walking shoes
    • Socks; underwear
    • Bathing suit; flip flops, beach sandals or water shoes
    • Coat or rain jacket
    • Hat, sunglasses

    Other Stuff:

    • Beach towel, plus at least TWO bath towels; wash cloth
    • Camera (reminder - put your name on it!)
    • Toiletries: Soap, shampoo; toothbrush and toothpaste; hairbrush; razor; hygiene products, etc.
    • Bug repellent; sunscreen
    • Paper, pens, pencils and markers (CYL workbook is provided)
    • Musical instruments, sheet music 
    • Sports equipment: Each session has a good supply of sports equipment; however, feel free to bring your own, such as a ball glove or frisbee
    • Money for the snack shack (our co-operative store), pay phone, phone card, etc.
    • Sleeping bag, or linens & blankets; a pillow 
    • Medications (IMPORTANT: inform CYL staff of any prescription or non-prescription medicines participants bring to their session, and if the Facilitators need to monitor or administer doses!)
    • Information regarding your sponsor (so you can tell everyone else at CYL what a great co-op or credit union you come from)
    • If you have a special talent, such as juggling, magic tricks or baton-twirling, you may want to bring your equipment
    • A sense of fun and adventure!

    Remember to put your name on everything you bring. We are not responsible for lost items.

    What Not to Bring

    • IMPORTANT: Please do not bring any items containing nuts to the program.
    • We encourage participants not to bring jewellery, electronic games, MP3 players, cell phones, laptop computers, tablets/PDAs or other communication or electronic devices. The organizers, staff, volunteers and campsites cannot be responsible for lost or damaged items.
    • We cannot guarantee that cell phones will work at all of our program locations. Internet access and Wi-Fi is not generally available.


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