As sad as we were to have to cancel CYL in-person this year, we were also excited to bring our beloved Co-operative Young Leaders program to a virtual platform , as a way to engage with and educate our leaders of tomorrow on the wonderful world of co-operatives and the values and benefits of co-operation!

Here are some of the awesome activities we did virtually this past summer!



CYL focuses on a different co-operative principle each year and completes a piece of artwork that will represent the principle and will remain at the CEC, the home of CYL. This year we are focused on our 5th co-operative principle: Education, Training and Information. We will be creating pieces of artwork that will hang on a mobile using only recycled materials. Each group will design their piece of art and the artist we have hired will make it come to life. Given the current pandemic, we will be asking our participants to focus on our environment and front line workers. 

SENIOR WEBINAR: "Impromptu Speaking"

Our senior group ages 17 & 18 participated in a webinar focused on impromptu speaking. The webinar engaged our participants and helped them to improve their communication skills, ability to react under pressure and think outside the box.


This webinar was focused on the beginning of the co-operative system and some of the milestones along the way. We talked about the benefits of a co-operative, the world view and why it is a better alternative for businesses and individuals. The webinar was a lot of fun and we had a very experienced presenter who is also an amazing artist who completed character drawings throughout the presentation. This has been one of the most popular sessions at camp each year!

THE MAKING BOX (there is a restriction on the number of participants per session)

We brought all the fun of improv online and no surprise, it was really fun! When we come together in the spirit of play, we leave more open, happy and connected. The practice of improvisation sparks creativity, enhances our ability to listen and fosters positive collaboration. The Making-Box builds and facilities highly interactive workshops online and in-person, that help students harness the transformative power of improv in a fun, supportive and inclusive environment. The sessions were a 90-minute Improv for Leadership workshops focused on communication and team-building. 

INTERMEDIATE WEBINAR: “My house is my home”

Our intermediate group ages 15 & 16 participated in a webinar focused on personal values. The purpose was to ensure participants are aware of who they are and to share their information with others in a non-judgemental and supportive group. We asked them to draw a house and think about the following:

  • Foundation – who or what is my main support
  • Door – what other people know about me
  • Window – what other people think about me
  • Roof – my greatest achievement
  • Chimney – what I would like my contribution to the world to be
  • Walls – people who give me extra support

This exercise provided everyone with an opportunity to take a few minutes to think about their life and how they are perceived by others and how they view themselves.


We invited ages 15-18 to join us for a basic budgeting exercise. Participants gained an understanding of income versus expenses, how to save for the future (university etc.), and how to manage a spreadsheet of basic household needs. In sum, we answered the question: “Why budget”?

JUNIOR WEBINAR: "Tattoo Exercise"

Our junior group ages 13 and 14 created a tattoo that expressed who they are and what is important to them at this time in their life. Once created, they shared their designs with the group. The exercise focused on the individual ability to express themselves, speak in front of others and understand that they have a voice in a non-judgemental environment.

VIRTUAL CAMPFIRE (this session is open to all ages)

After a long summer, we all got together for a virtual campfire and said goodbye to CYL 2020. This provided an opportunity for discussions, music and just to hang out with friends, exchange contact information and make plans for CYL 2021!


We held hangouts which were a great opportunity to meet in safe and non-judgement environment, to renew friendships and meet other youth from our co-operative sector. We had some fun with brain teasers, chat rooms and exploring this crazy world we live in today.


Participants were taken on a guided tour of our CYL home away from home, at The Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Education Centre.Our tour guide was our resident mannequin, Annabel.