Our Approach
Creative Youth Leadership
Teacher and Staff Training

Creative Youth Leadership Program

"This leadership program will live with me forever. I have learned to accept myself for who I am and to encourage others to do the same."

Katie, age 16

The Creative Youth Leadership program is a 5-day experience held on a lake-front setting that brings together a diverse group of 50-70 high school students and a staff with an expertise in education, creative problem solving and leadership development. The program was first developed in 1990 and the curriculum has evolved with input from psychologists, educators, drug prevention specialists and experts in leadership and creative problem-solving.

The program is designed to:

Give students a mindset and tool-set for success

Foster self-respect, respect for others and appreciation of differences

Create a forum to address real issues facing young people on an individual/community level and provide a problem solving process to address these problems and challenges in new ways.

Provide a problem solving process for youth to address these problems and challenges in new ways.
Give students a tangible tool-set to make healthier decisions
Provide a safe community to challenge stereotypes and to build long-lasting friendships

Expose young people to the mental and physical benefits of a healthy nutrition, exercise, personal well-being and empowerment

Who is it for?
The leadership program is for students entering the 10th and 11th grades who are looking to enhance his/her leadership skills. Schools apply to participate and send a number of students.

How we do it?
Our aim is help teens to develop themselves as effective leaders in their schools and communities. To this end, we offer a wide range of structured experiences designed to:
Build trust Facilitate honest communication
Promote wellness, self-respect, tolerance, and personal insight;
Develop leadership skills, explore drug free lifestyles, and provide an intensive opportunity to interact with healthy adult mentors

A sampling of our structured experiences include:
Creative Problem Solving activities

Listening activities

Creative Problem Solving activities

Teachbacks using multiple intelligences (skits, songs, presentations)



Conflict resolution activities

Brainstorming activities

Trust walks


The experiences and the curriculum provide an opportunity for youth to interact with healthy adult mentors and advisors. Participants are assigned to a “family group” co-led by two adult “family leaders” who facilitate the activities. Our ratio of staff to students is at a minimum 1 staff member for every 4 students.

Facilitation Methodology
Working with a co-leader, Family Group Leaders are responsible for supervision and facilitation of a group of 8-10 youth. Family groups are comprised of males and females as evenly matched for gender as possible. Together, family group leaders: facilitate small group activities in support of the large group experiences; interact with family members on a one-to-one basis when necessary; and provide feedback the program directors for supervisory and feedback purposes. Family group leaders sleep in the cabins with their family group and are responsible for supervision around the clock.

Family Group Leaders
Family group leaders are a group of extraordinary individuals who are committed to making a difference with youth. Half of our family group leaders are representatives from participating school districts (teachers, social workers, school psychologists, and administrators). The other half of our family group leaders are professionals including college professors, corporate trainers, artists and business owners who have a passion for working with youth.

Healthy Role Modeling
The basic philosophy of this leadership program is: "There is no such thing as a grown-up, only growing-ups and stuck people." Both the staff and teens are expected to grow throughout the week and be willing to share, to express themselves and to learn from one another. During the week, the staff will be expected to participate at the same level as the students in the activities.

Creative Youth Leadership program is designed as a 5 day interactive program. Each day has a purpose and a theme that builds upon the experiences and activities of the day before to help students build a skill-set for success.

Day 1 : Community Building/Establish Norms

Day 2 : Creative Leadership and Personal Responsibility

Day 3 : Trust & Health: Establish Community

Day 4 : Personal Commitment to Leading a Healthy Lifestyle

Day 5 : Reflection on Personal Change: Action Planning

Creative Leadership Project

During the 5 day Creative Youth Leadership Program, the students utilize the creative process to identify and develop a leadership project that they will implement upon their return to their schools. The project is intended to make a meaningful and positive contribution to each school community.

Two follow-up days are organized during the course of the school year (Fall and Spring) to bring students from all the participating schools back together to get updates on their progress and to do further action.

For more info on the 2005 Creative Youth Leadership Service Project, click here.

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