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Co-operative Young Leaders Program

Through On Co-op, Ontario credit unions and co-operatives are providing young people with the opportunity to attend Co-operative Young Leader programs every summer -- an experience unlike any other. 

This week-long initiative brings young people aged 14-18 together from all across Ontario. CYLers learn about, and practice, communication and leadership through co-operative activities, and facilitates further engagement in their co-ops and their communities when they return home. CYL also provides adult professional development through its facilitator training programs. 
Since its inception in 1967 to its 48th year in 2015, over 3,000 young people have gone through Ontario CYL programs.

This week-long initiative brings young people aged 14-18 together from all across Ontario. CYLers learn about, and practice, communication and leadership through co-operative activities, and facilitates further engagement in their co-ops and their communities when they return home. CYL also provides adult professional development through its facilitator training programs. 

Since its inception in 1967, over 3,200 young people have gone through Ontario CYL programs.


Attention co-operative youth…  It’s time to get excited for CYL 2016!

Leaders, team players, volunteers, creative minds, entrepreneurs, and anyone who likes to take on a new challenge:  CYL will equip you to stand out from your peers, and define yourself as a co-operative leader. 

This is a challenge – a life-changing opportunity – for young people between the ages of 14 and 18.  Bring your skills, your dreams and ideas, or “just” your unlimited potential.  Because YOUth are not only the future of the co-operative movement, youth are right here, right now, making a difference in their communities.  (Or, at least they could be and should be, since they have the curiosity, the vision, the aptitude and the energy to “be the change” they want to see in the world.)

If you participated in our Junior or Intermediate programs last year, we hope you will come back as Seniors this year.  CYL alumni are encouraged to join the leadership team as facilitators.  And, as always, we will assemble a dynamic team of adult facilitators from across the co-operative sector.



(Application window for participants is OPEN. Spots in each week are filling up so APPLY TODAY)



Junior: 14-15 years old. Participants must be at least 14 years old while at camp.

  • A: July 3-9, 2016 Sponsored by Gay Lea Foods Co-op
  • B: July 10-16, 2016 Sponsored by PACE Credit Union

 Intermediate: 15-16 years old, or Junior grads. 

  • A: July 17-23, 2016 Sponsored by The CUMIS Group
  • B: July 24-30, 2016 Sponsored by the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, Ontario Region

Senior: 16-18 years old, or Intermediate grads. 

  • A: July 30 - August 6, 2016 Sponsored by GROWMARK
  • B: August 6-13, 2016 Sponsored by Meridian Credit Union


Junior & Intermediate: $850+tax                                             
Senior:                         $875+tax

Non-member sponsors add $100.


CYL is held at the beautiful Lake St. George Field Centre, operated by the Toronto Region Conservation Authority. The Centre is located on a 120-hectacre site on the Oak Ridges Moraine, just east of Bayview Avenue, in Richmond Hill. Learn more about Lake St. George at

A very special thank you to the wonderful staff of Lake St. George. Their warmth, energy and commitment to environmental sustainability make each week at CYL thoroughly enjoyable.


CYL sponsorship is a great way to redefine the way your co-op or credit union engages with youth.  Embrace the transformative potential of youth leadership.  By partnering with CYL as a program sponsor, or sponsoring CYL participants, you will create opportunities for young co-operators to emerge as leaders. 

The benefits of sponsorship may include:            

- Capable youth on your Board of Directors
- Energizing speeches and presentations at your AGM
- Real-time status updates on your social media sites
- Co-op connections across Ontario
- Newsletter and blog contributions
- Visionary leadership for your organization
- Invest in the future of the co-operative movement

For details about sponsorship, including how to leverage the CYL program to maximize its potential for youth and sponsors, refer to our CYL Sponsor Guide: An All-In-One Resource for Youth Engagement, available in the "Downloads" section of this page.


Facilitator training consists of a series of three webinars and the onsite Training Weekend. Participation is mandatory and any absence must be approved by [requires javascript], CYL Director. Go to the "Becoming a Facilitator" page in the the top-right menu to learn more.

  • CYL 101 : April 27th from 7-8pm online or at the On Co-op office. Mandatory for new facilitators only.
  • Facilitation & Communication Techniques : May 4th from 7-8pm online or at the On Co-op office.
  • Conflict Resolution : May 11th from 7-8pm online or at the On Co-op office.
  • May 27-29, 2016: Facilitator Training Weekend at the Lake St. George Field Centre in Richmond Hill.
For general information on Becoming a Facilitator, see our online brochure.


CYL is truly an experience unlike any other, for both young people and adults! It is a leadership development program for youth, an engagement program for co-ops and credit unions, and a professional development program for facilitators. 

CYL brings young co-operators from across Ontario together with established co-op mentors in a relationship that embraces and enhances their leadership potential.  This week-long summer session enables CYL participants to:

- Connect
- Collaborate
- Play
- Learn
- Dream
- Accomplish

CYL is an experiential learning program which 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 (campfires, swimming and canoeing).  Who knew that public speaking, and business conceptualization could be so exciting!!

CYL catalyzes relationships and equips participants with the skills for co-operative success.  As accomplished leaders, CYL graduates stand out from their peers while applying for employment and post-secondary scholarships and admission.

We encourage co-op and credit union sponsors to engage with the youth they sponsor around the calendar year.  There are so many ways for youth to contribute to the life of the co-operative community: as Board members, as event organizers, as community builders, as social media contributors…  The leadership potential of our youth is limited only by your imagination!  Embrace the energy of these young achievers: they are the most enthusiastic and inspiring brand ambassadors around!

CYL graduates and facilitators learn valuable skills and gain critical knowledge of the co-operative sector.  An investment in CYL strengthens partnering co-ops and credit unions, and secures the future of the co-op movement.   


If you would like to subscribe to the CYL Newsletter, send an email to [requires javascript]! See past newsletters in the downloads section above.


"Two of my three children (so far) have attended the camp and it has changed their lives, and mine too. How can a week-long camp have that kind of impact?  One of the things that CYL brings out in the youth is their self confidence, helping them believe in themselves, believe they can accomplish what they put their mind to, believe that speaking up for the right reasons at the right time is the right thing to do. This camp is helping my children develop into healthy, responsible, self assured adults.  My advice? Send your kids to camp even if they think they don’t want to go! It’s an experience they’ll appreciate for the rest of their lives!"  Barb G., Parent

"CYL was one of the greatest weeks in my life. I formed lifelong friendships and created memories that will last forever. "  David J., Participant


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