Fifteen teenagers from a wide variety of Cayman’s public and private high schools recently completed the first phase of the YMCA “Teen Lead On” programme, which was sponsored and fully funded by Saxon.
The week-long leadership programme was comprised of a variety of workshops and seminars which provided teens with specialty leadership training. Activities included lectures and theory sessions, a farm field trip, a boat/snorkelling excursion, team building challenges, conquering the high ropes course, a practical leadership exercise with young campers and a swimming excursion to Smith's Cove. Woven into each event was the curriculum which measured participants’ leadership competency levels and evaluated the teens in areas such as self-confidence, communication, leadership initiative, problem-solving, time management, teamwork and ability to follow instructions.
Organisers said the initiative was a successful one. When surveyed anonymously, the teens were also positive about their experience.
“The programme was excellent. It really helped me with my confidence and leadership skills. I met nice people who were supportive and have become good friends. The leaders treated us like adults. It made learning fun and I would love to do it again,” said one of the survey respondents.
“On the last day of the programme we asked the teens to share something that they gained from the week which really stood out to them. The answers were so genuine, each with different key takeaways,” said Greg Smith, former CEO of the Y, who led the programme. “What they all had in common was that everyone grew and learned something they could take with them to positively influence others around them. It was great to hear them say they didn't know what to expect from “Teen Lead On” (and a parent may have even pushed them to do it), but that the leaders made the entire experience of learning fun, topping any camp they participated in before.”
The over-arching goal of “Teen Lead On” is to develop and strengthen the leadership skills of participating teens utilising the experiential learning model (learning through participation in activity). The programme runs for six months, during which time participants will attend monthly events, complete 40 volunteer hours and celebrate their achievements at a closing banquet.