Eleven Future Leaders Shine on Stage and Off
September 2, 2016
Eleven youth/mentor pairs completed the 2016 Future Leaders program, making this the largest group in the program’s 5 year history. The Future Leaders program inspires returning high school youth and recent high school graduates to take on the challenge of an enriched OLI experience. Challenging expectations in this additional credit course and mentorship program, motivate Future Leaders to focus on personal growth, leadership, goal setting, and mastery of challenging levels of dance performance. Through shared reflection and weekly communication, youth and mentors identify goals and dreams for the future. They explore the required steps for pursuing postsecondary education, employment training, and other opportunities. Youth and their dedicated mentors build supportive, inspiring relationships that are mutually rewarding. The mentors and mentees met and spent the day together at the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation camp, engaging in a series of challenges and activities, designed to further build trust and resilience. This year’s Future Leaders were presented with the added challenge of choreographing their own sets of eight counts for the closing number and teaching the other Future Leaders the steps and moves. Charlene Smith, one of OLI’s first choreographers, helped the Future Leaders put their choreography together into a dynamic, polished number. The Future Leaders dance was a definite highlight in the show where the Future Leaders proudly showcased their own choreography and the piece that they had worked collaboratively to create. In addition to their own dance number, the Future Leaders choreographed and taught counts in the closing number for each group of community dancers. On stage and through their words in the Future Leader documentary, this group of eleven OLI Future Leaders truly personified the strength, determination, critical thinking and teamwork skills that will carry them forward to roles of responsibility in their schools, community, postsecondary settings, or wherever their paths might take them.