Numerous studies have shown that while the Co-operative model resonates with teachers, teens and young adults, very few of them are learning about our sector in school. Co-operative Minds fills this need by outfitting educators and community partners with the tools necessary to educate and inspire the next generation of co-operative leaders!



“Doing the Co-operative Minds challenge with Ontario Co-operative Association was like seeing butterflies come out of their cocoon. An authentic challenge like this one was a great opportunity for students to safely take a risk and stretch them out of their comfort zone as they problem solved a real challenge facing CYL. The process was clearly laid out and easy to facilitate. I highly recommend this for anyone who wants an authentic challenge that will build student confidence and develop leadership skills they can carry with them.”

- Brett Manlow, Teacher at Centennial Secondary School, Belleville, Ontario


OCA conducted the first-ever pilot of Co-operative Minds in February 2021, at Centennial Secondary School in Belleville ON. Students of Mr. Manlow's Information and Communication Technology in Business class tackled a real-life challenge facing their community that they had to work together to solve.

Michelle Christmann, OCA's Education Manager who is leading the program, says: “There’s strong evidence that projects with real-world outcomes hold some of the greatest potential for helping students become driven, empathetic and engaged citizens. Co-operative Minds provides authentic and meaningful ways for students to share their collective voice, and the opportunity to collaborate, think critically and communicate in ways that make our world a more co-operative place to live.” View the media release



OCA is currently seeking partnerships with co-operatives and credit unions across Ontario who are interested in connecting with youth in their communities. By acting as mentors and assisting students in working cooperatively to solve an issue, they are actively helping increase awareness of a different way of doing business, while creating a new generation of members and co-operatively-minded leaders.

If you are an educator, co-operative business or credit union and would like to get involved with Co-operative Minds, please contact our Education Manager, Michelle Christmann at [email protected].


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