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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 3,300 young people have gone through Ontario CYL programs.

A Task Force was assembled in late 2015 and continued to meet throughout 2016 to discuss ways to improve the program and ultimately, help meet its goals of developing our leaders of tomorrow. For this reason, a number of significant changes will take place in 2017 - the 50th year of CYL!


Attention co-operative youth…  It’s time to get excited for CYL 2017!

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. 

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.

Please note, we are in the process of hiring a CYL Co-ordinator who will begin in early January. More information on the program will be made available in the weeks and months after this role is filled.


CYL 2017 will comprise of THREE weeks of programing, one for each age group:

  • JULY 2 - 8: Junior: 14-15 years old (participants must be at least 14 years old while at CYL)
  • JULY 9  - 15: Intermediate: 15-16 years old (or Junior grads) 
  • JULY 16 - 22: Senior: 16-18 years old (or Intermediate grads) 
NOTE: If there are enough participants and there is more interst, On Co-op will do its best to open up additional weeks of programming.



Please note, the 2016 rates are listed below. 2017 rate will be confirmed shortly.

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

Non-member sponsors add $100.


CYL is being held at a new location this year...the Albion Hills Conservation Area located in Caledon ON!



We encourage ALL co-op and credit union staff and members to indentify promising new participants to be part of CYL 2017, but there are others ways you can help too.

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 the CYL Co-ordinator. Go to the "Becoming a Facilitator" page in the the top-right menu to learn more.

  • CYL 101: Date TBC (online or at the On Co-op office). Mandatory for new facilitators only.
  • Facilitation & Communication Techniques: Date TBC (online or at the On Co-op office).
  • Conflict Resolution: Date TBC (online or at the On Co-op office).
  • Facilitator Training Weekend: Date TBC.
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, simply enter your email address in the box on the top-right section of the screen. Chose the CYL Newsletter and confirm your subscription! 


"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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