All communities need role models and leaders. Most of us agree that professions such as medicine, technology, education, business and industry, politics, and the arts need people who can use intelligence, creativity, and critical judgment.
We believe it is our job, as role models and child care professionals, to help in the development of leadership attributes and qualities and skills in children at an early age.
Our leadership program helps teach kids to feel comfortable in and addressing large groups of children, have others respond well to their suggestions and build interest in setting the direction or style of play for their peers. We believe leadership in children can be nurtured and grown and, in turn, build great amounts of self-respect and worth.
Whoever said “Great leaders are made not born” was on the right track. Taking the initiative, making suggestions, providing direction, being sympathetic to the problems of others are all characteristics that can make great leaders. Fortunately, they are also behaviors that can be encouraged in our children.
Teaching Leadership Qualities to Children:
We want to help your child to be a leader, but what are the qualities of a leader? Here are some of the qualities required and how we can encourage the development of these qualities.
- Integrity – our staff always remember to be a good example, a role model for your child. We teach by example, and integrity is a quality kids learn from their caretakers and parents. One tool that is very helpful is storytelling. We have books that tell about the value of integrity in our reading corner.
- Courage –When your child shows courage, we notice it and praise it. It takes courage to tell our staff about problems or bullying and we encourage kids to “share fearlessly” with us.
- Creative, independent thinking– When we talk with your child about any subject at all, we always try to ask open questions, that encourage creative thinking. Using the “One Step Farther” principle. After we have received all the obvious answers, we ask one more question, to come up with a deeper, more creative idea. Questions like “Why”, “What would happen if…”, “How do you think did it feel…”, encourage your child to think creatively.
- Self-belief – One of the most important things we can help teach your child is to believe in themselves and in their ideas, visions, and abilities. We try to encourage them every step of the way. When your child tells us that they want to be the richest person in the world, we don’t laugh them off as if that is something beyond them. Instead, we ask your child what he plans to do to achieve that goal. We want children to know that nothing is beyond their capabilities. A leader is a person who believes in himself. It is only when someone believes in what they are doing, can they convince others to follow the same path. Most children have goals, and a few know just what they are going to do to achieve these goals. Having goals is the first step towards leadership – the second step is knowing how you are going to achieve these goals, and if they are feasible at all.
- Confidence – this is one of the most important qualities required for success in general. To develop confidence in your child, we praise your child sincerely and often and develop a habit to talk about your child’s strengths and achievements with him every day.
- Responsibility – A leader takes responsibility. Good leadership is knowing when you made a mistake, when you took a wrong decision and having the ability to admit your mistakes and apologize. We teach your child to know that they are the “boss” of their own life. Their success is their responsibility. When your children blame someone else or something else for a mishap or come up with excuses, we see this as our opportunity to encourage your child to assume responsibility and we make sure that your child knows that it is Ok to make mistakes. Mistakes are an opportunity to learn. We help your child draw conclusions, without ‘making them wrong,’ by asking: “What did you learn from this?”, “What do you think went wrong?”, “Why do you think this happened?”, “How could you avoid this?” and again, “What do you think would happen if…?”
- Planning – Many children dream big, but they don’t plan on how they will be able to achieve their goals. Teaching your child the importance of planning is a large part of our program. When children are chosen as leaders, they are asked to come up with a plan for the day and stick to it. They help plan the group games we play to the crafts we make. They can change their plans along the way, but we show them that it is best if they follow a plan to make sure we have time for everything. The best leaders are those that chart a course of action in advance and stick to it.
Leaders get to help with the following in our programs:
- Creating and calling out daily clubs.
- Helping choose the days’ activities (group game, craft ideas, and daily themes).
- Participating to show examples and lead/ coach group activities.
- Be an example of how to behave during activities (washing hands, leading lines, etc.).
The Leader Calendar is on the Kids Board. This way they know that they only need to look at the board to know what’s coming next and whose leader day it is. Everyone gets a chance to be a leader.
Being a part of the Junior Leaders group is a privilege at TOPP KIDS and is geared for Div 2 Children (Grades 3 -6). Junior Leaders are coached to become the “best version of themselves” with the program aimed towards children learning life skills, community stewardship and leadership qualities. They are privileged with running exclusive clubs and tasks (ie: Newsletter Club, Scrapbook Club, Club Runners Club, Community Heros Club, and Welcoming Club). Children who become Junior Leaders sign a contract, holding them responsible to the values and tasks of a Junior Leader.
What it means to be a Junior Leader:
- Be kind
- Help others
- Set an example
- Junior Leaders help plan PD days, ½ day Fridays (CBE), events and holidays
- Each Junior Leader is assigned and responsible for individual areas around the program during cleanup time to help and organize
- Include everyone in games and activities, check for “unhappy faces” making sure if there are any children sitting alone they make them feel included
- Be honest
- Be role models for younger and newer children
- Make great choices
One of our priorities at our TOPP KIDS Summer Camps has always been promoting and fostering the growth and development of leadership skills within our older children specifically. By finding cohesion and teamwork between staff members passionate about the above, and children who are eager to learn, we have been able to create and grow our Summer Camp Leadership Initiative. We invite Grade 3 children entering Grade 4 to participate as Camp Mentors, children in Grades 4-6 to participate as Camp Junior Leaders, and children in grades 7 or higher who are not members of the program to step in as Camp Volunteers. Each group will have a set of responsibilities that they must adhere to throughout the summer, but all that hard work will be rewarded with privileges throughout the summer. By embracing the natural leadership instincts in our older children and fostering these instincts to become skills, we believe that our efforts in our Leadership Initiative will benefit kids throughout the summer, and carry into their school years and beyond.
WHO LEADERSHIP CAMP IS FOR
TOPP KIDS Summer Camp is open to school-aged children who have completed grade 3 – 6, as well as youth volunteers (13yr -16yrs old) from outside the program. Each age group has a specific set of responsibilities and expectations, but the intention is to find cohesion between everyone in a way that best supports children of all ages. Inclusion and privileges of the Leadership Initiative are not guaranteed and depend on participants abiding by the core values of INSPIRE, DEVELOP and LEAD. Participation in our Leadership Program can be terminated at any point if children are not adhering to the responsibilities and expectations outlined in their contracts.
(6-12 years) and is operating this year out of the Willow Ridge Community Center! We look forward to exploring the wonderful amenities that our new venue provides! Our Leadership Initiative is specifically directed to Division 2 children in grades 3-6, as well as volunteers from outside of the program. Each age group has a specific set of responsibilities and expectations (outlined above), but the intention is to find cohesion between everyone in a way that best supports children of all ages.
OUR FOUNDATIONAL VALUES
It is our priority to provide children and families with a safe and reliable program that embodies exactly what summer is all about: FUN! We are a fully accredited summer camp with excellent and highly qualified staff who are committed to the safety and well-being of your children, while also focusing on making each and every day one that your kids will be talking about even when the next summer rolls around! Our team of leaders commits themselves to be positive role models and mentors for children of all ages, we are excited to build meaningful relationships with you and your children. Our daily camp schedule offers endless activities, both planned and spontaneous, that are sure to keep children engaged, happy and excited. We believe strongly in fostering creativity and imagination and focus on creating a balance in each day between structured play and spontaneous play. Our diverse and dynamic range of activities is catered to the needs, interests, and qualities that are unique to every child in our care. From cooking to outdoor games, and from robotics to sports tournaments, we offer a full range of opportunities for children to play, grow, laugh & learn.
PARTNERSHIP WITH ISLAND LAKE RETREAT CENTER
We would like to announce another year of our INCREDIBLY EXCITING Jr. Leadership retreat happening this summer…. our LEADERSHIP OVERNIGHT CAMPING TRIP! Our Leadership groups- children grade 3 and up (who would like to participate, of course), will be heading to the amazing Island Lake Retreat Centre on for a 4-day 3-night stay and coming home Thursday afternoon! (annual dates will vary).. More information will be discussed with families in a separate email and at our onsite info and registration night.
The annual 4 day, 3 night Camping trip for our grade 3 + campers has become a valuable part of our leadership program. Check out the photos below to see a sneak-peek of our amazing camp location.
Perks of Island Lake:
– we have the entire building solely to ourselves
– nestled on 55 acres of lakefront land
– private hiking trails & lookouts over the lake & Crowsnest Pass
– indoor plumbing & showers (need we say more)
– industrial kitchen for our kids to cook in
– real mattresses provided (no need for foamies)
– Games room with foosball, ping pong, board games & instruments overlooking the lake
– Outdoor basketball court
– Soccer field & tons of open green Space
– Private Dock
– Kayaking and so much more!
OUR LEADERSHIP STAFF
We are passionate about encouraging and fostering the growth of children in our leadership program and are excited to further promote this initiative as role models throughout the summer. all of our TOPP KIDS employees who work with our Junior Leadership Program strive to develop future leaders and stewards of our core values for the program: INSPIRE, DEVELOP and LEAD. Those who attend the annual Leadership Camp Trip, volunteer their time in going.
We are excited to even further develop our Leadership initiative by creating a Leaders In Training (LIT) program! We have so many notable and wonderful past participants who were involved in our leadership program and truly set the foundation for the program by sharing their incredible hearts and passionate minds with us. We thrilled to create our LIT program to further develop the skills and passions that are so prevalent within these older children. If you have a responsible, kind and passionate child who is 13 or older, check out our LIT program commencing Summer 2020!