Future Leaders Reach Above and Beyond

September 14, 2015

Brody Allen and Austin Pangowish, 2015 Future Leaders

Brody Allen and Austin Pangowish, 2015 Future Leaders

OLI Future Leaders is an enrichment program for returning OLI youth in grade 10 or higher who want to challenge themselves to reach above and beyond the requirements and criteria of the regular OLI experience to explore the art of Leadership. Youth are guided in the analysis and development of leadership skills through communication, reflection, and experiential learning. In addition, youth examine their interests and goals and identify the steps needed to actively pursue their dreams.

The Future Leaders program is a mentorship program. Youth who are accepted into the Future Leaders program are paired with a mentor who supports the youth throughout the year through weekly emails and/or phone calls.

The Future Leaders program is also a credit course. With the input of principals, a credit course focused on leadership, mentorship, and/or career design is selected and a course of action is prepared for prospective Future Leaders. Curriculum expectations are addressed through weekly writing and reflection tasks, in addition to selected readings and application of skills.

Austin, Mentor Elysia Townsend, and Brody greet guests at OLI Event 2015

Austin, Mentor Elysia Townsend, and Brody greet guests at OLI Event 2015

A big part of the Future Leaders program happens at camp. The FL camp experience focuses on leadership and life skills and provides experiences that allow youth to reach out of their comfort zone to pursue physical, social, intellectual, and spiritual fitness and well being. At camp, Future Leaders participate in intense daily rehearsals, where they learn challenging choreography. Examples of other activities youth may participate in during the leadership camp are: team building exercises; career building and resume writing; visits to local Aboriginal centres/services /events; visits to colleges or universities; camp activities focused on developing leadership skills; and practice and performance at special events.

In addition to their part in the community performances, Future Leaders also perform in a special FL dance that is showcased at OLI’s Annual Performance.

The 2015 show featured Austin Pangowish from Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve and Brody Allen from Lac La Croix First Nation. These two young men had the whole stage – the biggest stage in Canada – to themselves as they entertained the audience in an energetic rendition of War by Edwin Starr. For the first time in OLI’s eight-year history, mentors Elysia Townsend and Tracee Smith, standing in for Tyler Ford, took to the stage and performed choreographed dance moves with their youth mentees.

Austin and Brody are currently entering their final year of high school in their respective communities. We sincerely hope to see them take on the challenge of the Future Leaders program again this year. There is a lot of interest in the 2016 program with a record number of youth being eligible to participate. Applications are due October 28, 2015; youth and mentor pairs will be announced in November. If you are interested in becoming an OLI Future Leaders mentor, please contact Maureen at for more information.

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