Co-operative Young Leaders (CYL) is a unique summer camp experience for youth ages 14 to 18. This series of week-long camps brings together young people from across Ontario to learn about and practice the International Co-operative Principles, communication, and leadership, through games, team building and community projects.

For over 50 years, CYL has been educating and engaging youth in co-operatives. Since its inception in 1967, over 3,300 young people have gone through the program, thanks to the co-operatives and credit unions that have supported it over the years!

In 2017, we also launched Base Camp, a weekend long retreat for youth ages 12 to 13, which provides an introduction to co-operatives, credit unions and CYL.

We bring together youth from across Ontario with established co-operative mentors in a relationship that embraces and enhances their leadership potential. 

CYL is an experiential learning program that 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!

The Benefits of Participating in and Supporting the CYL Program:

  1. It fulfils a need to educate youth on co-operatives - and the values and principles inherent in the model;
  2. It develops communication and leadership skills that youth can apply in all aspects of their lives;
  3. It instills a sense of confidence and greater purpose among youth participants;
  4. It provides adults with a unique professional development opportunity that helps strengthen their co-operative or credit union.

Program Overview

"CYL really does change your life." 

- Facilitator

Held over one week periods throughout July and August, youth participate in a variety of co-operative activities while learning about the co-operative principles and business model. CYL introduces them to a different way of living and doing business as they prepare to go out into the world, and hopefully increases their engagement with the co-operatives and credit unions in their communities when they return home - and throughout their lives!

CYL is also an opportunity for adults employed in the co-operative sector to further their own professional development, through both our facilitator training program and by facilitating a week of camp. Facilitators improve their own communication and leadership skills, while also expanding their knowledge of co-operatives - a win-win for both the facilitator and the co-operative organization that employs them! 

Learn more about the 2019 CYL program, including information on participant and facilitator registration and training.

Stay Connected with CYL! Subscribe to the CYL Newsletter to stay informed about program information.