This page provides information about opportunities for students interested in developing their critical thinking and leadership skills. Programs range by age, grade, location and area of interest. Check them out!
If you come across a program listed that is no longer running, or if the link to a particular program is no longer working, please let me know!
Program descriptions are taken directly from each program’s website.
YMCA Leadership Programs
The Y offers after-school leadership programs for youth aged 12-18. Learn to be a community leader, make new friends and have fun. For info contact firstname.lastname@example.org
City of Barrie Student Mayor Program
Are you interested in the inner workings of a municipality? Want to be a part of Monday night Council meetings? Ask your school about the Student Mayor Program or contact the Mayor’s Office at 705-792-7900 email@example.com.
Youth Ambassadors and Global Perspectives
Check these programs out if you’re:
- a 14 – 15 year old Barrie resident and interested in a 2-week summer cultural exchanges with Japan or China; or
- a grade 10 student in Simcoe County and interested in a semester-long intensive study of international affairs that will provide you with the opportunity to travel to Germany and a third world country during grade 11
Contact the City of Barrie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Barrie Public Library Teen Advisory Committee
If you’re between the ages of 14 and 19, this is your chance to make a difference at your library. Members of the TAB work together to create a great environment for teens at the library.
YMCA Youth Advisory Committee
The YMCA is looking for young people to participate as active members of their Youth Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee is the “voice” for youth in our Y, and report annually to the Board of Directors and Senior Staff. Youth who are actively engaged in this committee have the opportunity to participate in an International Volunteer Experiencethrough the support of our community donors. For more information, contact email@example.com
Girls on Ice is a unique, FREE, wilderness science education program for high school girls. Each year two teams of 9 teenage girls and 3 instructors spend 12 days exploring and learning about mountain glaciers and the alpine landscape through scientific field studies with professional glaciologists, ecologists, artists, and mountaineers. One team explores Mount Baker, an ice-covered volcano in the North Cascades of Washington State. The other team sleeps under the midnight sun exploring an Alaskan glacier.
We understand the challenges of being a successful young person in today’s world – the dedication, commitment and energy that it takes to balance activities like volunteering, part-time work, running a small business, sports, theatre and education to name a few. We also know that success is multi-dimensional….you have to be good at a number of things to attain your goals: communication skills, creative thinking, resourcefulness, ability to think and solve problems – just to name a few!
At Youth in Motion, we want to encourage you to continue making a difference. That is why we created Top 20 Under 20™ – to celebrate and honour Canadians who have demonstrated a significant level innovation, leadership and achievement but have not yet reached the age of 20. There are incredible young people in this country doing incredible things!
Top 20 Under 20™ is open to all young Canadians under the age of 20 – regardless of race, gender and/or religious affiliations. Our only requirement is that your leadership and innovation has led to the betterment of your school, community, province and/or country. We also recognize that success in today’s competitive world requires much more than academic skills. For this reason, the assessment criteria look beyond academics to specific skills that have a positive impact on the everyday life of our community.
The Minister’s Student Advisory Council is a group of approximately sixty students from all parts of the education system and regions of the province.Members share their ideas and advice with the Minister of Education on how to ensure Ontario’s schools remain the best in the world.
The council is about empowering youth to ‘be the change.’ Council members think big, SpeakUp and take action to help other students across the province. They share perspectives and act as change agents by expressing their views directly to the Minister of Education.
The council meets with the Minister of Education twice during the year to share their ideas. During their term, council members create sub-committees on matters of interest and meet virtually to discuss them. They may be invited to participate in consultations regarding policies or programs that impact on students. Finally, council members are invited to attend their Regional Student Forum.
If you are in grades 7 to 12, you are eligible to be part of the council. Everyone is welcome and no special qualifications are required. The Minister is interested in hearing your ideas.
The council celebrates student diversity and welcomes all perspectives and lived experiences – so please apply!
The Legislative Assembly of Ontario Model Parliament is a new educational program designed for civic-minded high school students who are interested in current events and provincial issues. This unique educational experience will bring together 107 students in grades 9-12, representing each of the province’s ridings, for a 3-day Model Parliament Program in Toronto. They will have the opportunity to meet key figures in Ontario’s parliamentary process, learn about the history of the provincial legislature and the legislative process through tours, workshops and presentations. Students will also have the opportunity to forge new freindships and meet like-minded students from across Ontario.
Through the Model Parliament Program experience, youth from across Ontario will gain a stronger knowledge of the province’s parliamentary practices and traditions while participating in an authentic experience that will teach them the value and importance of our democratic process.
Each year, QLEAD attracts over 130 well-rounded, senior-level high school students for an unforgettable weekend. It is about inspiring delegates to change and change the status quo and live their dreams to the fullest. In their time of transition, with the end of high school growing near, delegates will leave QLEAD questioning what “it” really means to them as they bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to be in the coming years. Includes keynote speakers, workshops, business challenges, teambuilding activities, social events and campus tours.
The SEEQ program is a non-credit enrichment program and university experience for students who are looking to broaden their knowledge and challenge themselves academically, as well as get a chance to experience life as a Queen’s University student while meeting like-minded peers from across Ontario and beyond.
Waterloo Unlimited is a unique enrichment opportunity for high school students in grades 10, 11, and 12. Offered during the school year, Unlimited brings together curious, motivated, well-rounded teens from across the country.
Rather than focusing on enrichment in a particular subject, each Waterloo Unlimited experience revolves around a different transdisciplinary theme—such as Vision or Design. These themes draw on all Faculties across campus for a grand exploration of commonalities and differences leading to the integration of knowledge
CATALYST empowers high school youth to be the agents of change in our community and our world by creating opportunities for them to increase awareness, confidence and leadership abilities in engineering, science and technology.
An initiative of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo, Catalyst provides engaging summer programs, conferences and workshops for high school youth and educators in the Waterloo community and beyond.
Contestants are to write an essay of approximately 1200 words that develops and defends a position taken in response to one of five possible questions. One or two short readings will provide the necessary context for each question. Contestants are not encouraged, required or expected to do any readings or research beyond the reading(s) for their chosen question. Essays will be judged according to their quality and depth of thought, organization of ideas, and clarity of expression.
Across Canada in every secondary school, there are gifted and highly motivated students like you seeking challenging alternative learning opportunities at an advanced level. E=MC2 offers you the combination of academics, residence life and extra-curricular activities to provide you with a true flavour of a university experience. Mini-courses include business, drama, music, arts, language, international issues, psychology, law, criminology, biology, heath care, archaeology, engineering, nano-techology, robotics, astronomy, biomedical engineering, and physics.
The Pearson Seminar on Youth Leadership is an exciting program, designed to strengthen the role that young people play as future community and world leaders. PSYL provides a unique learning environment in which over 100 students from North America and other nations around the world meet for a three-week seminar. PSYL’s framework includes discussions, presentations, guest speakers, workshops, and interactive approaches to leadership training. Students are encouraged to broaden their prospectives on key world issues and are provided with the leadership skills they need to become leaders on themes of ecological sustainability, social justice, and international understanding. The young people who attend this enriching educational experience also participate in an exciting range of cultural and recreational activities. Can be taken as a workshop or as an accredited leadership program garnering the student a course credit recognized by the Ontario Ministry of Education.
DEEP is a program for gifted and highly motivated high school students that provides the opportunity for advanced study in a variety of innovative areas within engineering, science, business and technology. From Biomedical Engineering to their Mini-MBA, DEEP offers one of the most diverse ranges of pre-university courses in North America. DEEP exposes students to concepts and topics beyond the regular secondary school curriculum and is designed to challenge high achieving students.
Saturday Science & Engineering Academy is the University of Toronto’s advanced academic program for students in Grades 7 to 12 who have a desire to explore science, math and technology in challenging and creative ways.
Saturday Science & Engineering Academy exposes students to concepts and topics beyond the regular school curriculum in a fun and hands-on environment. Small class sizes allow students to meet others with the same interests and aspirations.
Ready for a completely unique and exciting mini-university adventure? Start by building your own Saturday timetable by visiting the courses section. Let your interests and imagination take over. Learn from and work with top researchers, undergraduate and graduate students in the most cutting-edge fields of science and engineering.
Girls’ Science & Engineering Saturdays was created to encourage and inspire girls to explore their interests in science, engineering and technology in a comfortable, confidence-inspiring, all-female environment. Offered at the St. George campus of the University of Toronto in the Fall and Winter, each Saturday session promises fun hands-on, discovery-based science and engineering activities.
The Winter program consists of three sessions held on consecutive Saturdays in January. Friendly and enthusiastic instructors, who are female undergraduate or graduate students in science, engineering or technology-focused subjects, lead and mentor each session.
The Skule™Sisters program matches female high school students with mentors who are female undergraduate engineering students at U of T. Participants are matched to their mentors based on the registration forms submitted. Registration happens in September every year.
Skule™Sister pairs will correspond regularly to discuss everything from life as a university student and transition to university, to the vital role of women in engineering and gender stereotypes.
While most correspondences between each Skule™Sisters pair will consist of emails every 2 weeks, there are a number of on-campus events hosted each year, to allow for our Skule™Sisters pairs to meet face-to-face and participant fun activities!
Mathematics is instrumental to engineering; advanced knowledge and understanding of math is necessary for any aspiring engineer. March Break Math Academy is an opportunity for senior high school students to gain exposure to fundamental mathematical concepts that appear in many fields of engineering that extend well beyond the secondary school curriculum.
Students will be introduced to topics drawn from three main areas: calculus, algebra and probability. Students will be challenged with problems linked to current issues in engineering.
The Summer Academy enables academically strong students about to enter their final year of high school to take a university half-course during the summer.
Students will experience university-level learning and teaching that will give them a head-start on their post-secondary experience. The Summer Academy provides students with the rich academic atmosphere of the University of Toronto, while having access to campus facilities like the Athletic Centre, Hart House, and the U of T library system.
Program participants will also have the benefit of college membership, a distinctive and integral part of student life in the Faculty of Arts & Science. As members of Woodsworth College, students will have access to the college’s extensive summer resources. Student life programming and academic support will be jointly provided by Woodsworth and Trinity colleges. A pre-program orientation, campus tours, information sessions and social activities will complement the academic experience.
The Faculty of Arts & Science is situated on the St. George campus, in the heart of downtown Toronto. Summer Academy students will experience our beautiful campus while having immediate access to thriving downtown Toronto.
Summer Academy students earn undergraduate credit for their completed coursework. They attend class with current U of T students as well as visiting undergraduates from around the world. Students must apply and be formally admitted to this selective program.
The University of Toronto National Biology Competition (NBC) provides an opportunity for high school students across Canada to test their knowledge and understanding of biology. In late April, students write a 50-question, multiple-choice comprehensive exam, with content based on the Grades 11 and 12 biology curriculum. Scholarships, certificates and cash prizes are awarded to the top contestants. Registration information is sent to participating high schools in the fall of each year
Each year, Canada sends a team of chemistry and physics students to the International Chemistry and Physics Olympiad competitions. Registration forms are sent to high schools in October. For more information visit the Physics Olympiad website or the Chemistry Olympiad website.
The Youth Summer Program (YSP) allow high school students to experience what it is to be a student in Canada’s premier Medical and Law Schools. Participants have access to the university’s top academic and research professionals and take part in “hands-on” academic programming
The MED YSP offers an exclusive glimpse into the world of medicine and medical research. The Law YSP introduces the legal system and a variety of legal concepts.YSPs are held in July on the University of Toronto’s downtown campus, and range in length from one to four weeks
Girls Rock Science introduces girls from grades 9 through 12 to physical science disciplines that are shaping the world we live in – from climate change to planetary science. Participants will be exposed to the
latest research taking place in the University of Toronto’s departments of geology, geography, physics, and the Center for the Environment. From November to April, female professors will lead workshops, discussions, and hands-on research activities created to empower girls to excel in the physical sciences.
For more information, contact the Department of Mathematical Science at firstname.lastname@example.org or see your high school math teacher.
The Canadian Team Mathematics Contest (CTMC) is a fun and challenging team competition. Each team consists of 6 secondary school students. The students may be in any combination of grades. The competition consists of:
- team questions, where the students determine answers as a team
- individual problems
- math relays, where a student’s answer to a question is one of the numbers needed by teammates to solve the next question
Founded in 1962, the United World Colleges is a network of 10 schools around the globe that bring students from many different countries to live and study together with the aim of building understanding between people. In Canada, Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific is located near Victoria on Vancouver Island. All provinces and territories send students annually to Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific and students from across Canada annually attend many of the other United World Colleges. United World Colleges offer young men and women of all nationalities, creeds, and political persuasions the opportunity of developing international understanding through a program which combines high quality academic study with activities which encourage a sense of adventure and social responsibility. The colleges are residential and co-educational and prepare students for the International Baccalaureate, a two year program, successful completion of which generally entitles a student to enter the second year of a college or university in North America.
A program designed for students to gain international educational experiences in community development in Canada and overseas. Students spend 3 months in a community in Canada followed by 3 months in a community in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, or Latin America. Students can receive academic credits for their work.
Grade(s): Ages 17+
LiveDifferent Academy is a nine month personal development program with global possibilities! It focuses on you, your generation, and the global community in which we all play a key part. Imagine changing the world, and you being changed in the process! It is possible; your life is meant to be lived and to make a difference now! Time is your most valuable commodity, so why not invest some in the future of our world, and leave a mark on this generation for the rest of time? The world needs you, and you need to step out and take your place!
Grade(s): You must be 18 years of age or older
Why not join us on a Hero Holiday? No seriously, why not? Being part of Live Different’s Hero Holiday is about changing the world and allowing yourself to be changed in the process – so why not experience it for yourself? Meet amazing people, make life long friends, and help to create change through the power of hope. As we work together with families and communities, our world is changed in more ways than we could have ever imagined!
Don’t know a thing about construction? That’s ok, we’ll teach you. Scared to step out of your comfort zone? Don’t be! You will come to realize that life is about people, not stuff – and you will never be the same.
There are many problems in our world, but there is also much hope. Join us and find out how you can be a part of what hope can look like!
A 1 week program held in Ottawa in May intended to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of citizenship in Canada
Grade(s): Ages 16-19
Science fair-type competition held in May at the Ontario Science Centre
An annual summer conference held in Orillia for discussing themes related to national and international issues relevant to Canada
Grade(s): Ages 16-19
The program is not for the faint of heart – it’s an intensive six weeks of chemistry, physics, biology and math. You pick your subject area and they’ll put you in the laboratory or in the field. Do you enjoy chemistry? They’ll put in a lab. Would you prefer to work outside? Then they’ll put you in the field (aka swamp or forest – depending on the research project).
Afraid you won’t know the answers to the research? Don’t worry – neither do they! This is what makes their program and your experience unique. So unique, there is no other program like it in Canada. You become part of a real research team. You will not be placed in a classroom, with books and a teacher lecturing you. You are placed with another student under the guidance of a Research Assistant/Tutor and a Professional Scientist. You are EXPECTED to do the work – it’s called experiential learning. You learn by doing. And they expect a lot.
Grade(s): Ages 15-17
The Award Programme is filled with activities that you can do in your spare time. There are three award levels to achieve; Bronze, Silver and Gold. Achieving an award is as easy as setting and achieving your personal goals in the four areas of the programme: Community Service, Skills, Physical Recreation and Adventurous Journey.
With over 36,000 young people across Canada already involved, what are you waiting for? It’s challenging and different, but more important it’s about having fun, trying something new, learning and improving skills and spending time with old friends and making some new friends along the way.
Spend a week with Encounters with Canada – Canada’s largest youth forum! Every week of the school year, 120 to 138 teens from across Canada (ages 14-17) come to Ottawa, where they discover their country through each other, learn about Canadian institutions, meet famous and accomplished Canadians, explore exciting career options, develop their civic leadership skills and live an extraordinary bilingual experience. Over 81,000 youth have lived the EWC experience so far!
Exceptional May Leadership
This is a leadership development course with modified program expectations for exceptional students who have access to special education and services.
Secondary Music Leadership
Secondary students are given the opportunity to develop skills and experience leadership activities through the medium of music.
Secondary Athletics Leadership
This course provides secondary students with leadership skill development through their involvement in athletics.
Secondary Fine Arts Leadership
This summer program focuses on leadership in the arts and includes four main arts disciplines – vocal music, visual arts, dance and drama. Besides students from Grades 9, 10 and 11 we welcome back students who participated in the Elementary Fine Arts program in previous years.
Student Council Leadership
This course is designed to develop leadership skills for those students who show an interest in Student Council or other school leadership initiatives.
Secondary School Leadership
This relevant and dynamic leadership program is focused on developing both individual and collective leadership skills with a focus on school-based initiatives eg. student council, clubs/committees, advocacy, student/staff partnerships, leadership classes, funding opportunities, special event planning, etc. Students will be given opportunities to explore and
strengthen their own voice as “partners in education” and will, as a school group, develop a student-initiated action plan to take back to their own school setting. Students will attend this course with a teacher advisor.
This course offers leadership development through athletics but is offered in French. This is intended for either students with French as a first language or French immersion students.
Summer camps for students to develop their leadership and critical thinking skills. 5 day to 28 day camps available.
Established in 1975 as a bilingual, non-partisan educational experience for Canadian high school and Cégep (Quebec) students, Forum is the Foundation’s best-known program, with approximately 450 students from across the country selected to participate each year. The “Forum experience” brings students to Ottawa for an intensive academic adventure that immerses them in the exciting world of national politics and public affairs.
Grade(s): Ages 15-19
A program held at the University of Waterloo to encourage young Canadians to learn more about the global economy. Students who complete a 3 day session have the opportunity to apply to become a member of the Junior Team Canada Economic Mission who travel overseas to make connections with foreign businesses.
Grade(s): See website for details
The Ontario Student Debating Union is a charitable organization working to promote and co-ordinate Debating and Speech Arts for the youth of Ontario. OSDU members take part in tournaments in English, French and Bilingual formats. OSDU provides educational resources and workshops, organizes the Provincial Championships for top high school debaters and the Junior High Provincials, and selects Ontario debaters for major national tournaments
A 3-day leadership conference for Grade 10 students. Topics include entrepreneurship, media, business technology, etc. (NOTE: most seminars take place in the US…check for availability of Canadian workshops on the website)
Katimavik offers Canadian youth the opportunity to contribute to the sustainable development of communities across Canada through challenging volunteer service programs. During their 6 or 9 months with Katimavik, participants ages 17 to 21 live in different regions of Canada. They are involved in exciting volunteer projects in each community.
Grade(s): Ages 17+
The Science School seeks students with a passion for learning and communicating science who have a strong academic background, demonstrated initiative, independent-study skills and the ability to work as part of a team.
At the Science School, there is a strong emphasis on the communication of science. Students gain experience in this area through Science School practicum hours spent participating in engaging activities within the Science Centre and the local community. Students must complete a minimum of 15 practicum hours in addition to their coursework; these hours can be counted towards the required 40 Community Service Hours. Due to these extracurricular commitments, students cannot take more than three courses while at the Science School.
A Model UN conference. Students represent countries, debate issues and policies. Grade 9 and 10 students may be pages and assistants. Grade 11 and 12 students are delegates.
Shad Valley is a four week summer enrichment program. Students spend a month living in residence at one of our host university campuses across Canada.
With a focus that includes the sciences, technology and entrepreneurship, the program provides an academically stimulating, mind expanding adventure for top well-rounded students. Students will also enjoy recreational activities and the opportunity to explore local attractions.
SWAP offers programs for Canadians who want to go abroad to work and travel.
Grade(s): Ages 18+
Held at the House of Commons in Ottawa. Students must be graduating from high school and have been accepted at a university in Ottawa. This is a paid position of $11,000 for one school year and students are expected to work a minimum of 15 hours per week.
Exchange programs for students to various countries throughout the world. Both academic exchanges and summer exchanges are offered.
Grade(s): Ages 15+
A national charity that offers exchanges, educational trips, and forums that are paid for by the federal government.
Schools on Board is an outreach program of ArcticNet, based out of the The Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth and Resources at the University of Manitoba (Winnipeg, Canada). It was developed to bridge Arctic research with science education in high schools across Canada; to increase awareness of issues related to climate change in Canada, and to excite young Canadians about the challenges and career opportunities of Arctic research. The main thrust of the program is the Field Program “on board” the CCGS Amundsen. Schools are given the unique opportunity to send students and teachers to the Arctic, on board the CCGS Amundsen to participate in an educational experience completely integrated into the research activities of the ArcticNet science team.
Hands-on business training and mentoring – together with awards of up to $3000 – to help you start up and run your own summer business
See Mr. A. Roy in Room 240 for more details.
Located at the Me to We Leadership Centre in beautiful Bethany, the Ontario Take Action Camp brings together young people from across the world, and allows them to feel the excitement of learning leadership skills in a supportive environment full of like-minded peers.
Over the course of their Camp experience, participants will delve deep into important social issues, build their leadership skills, get tips on public speaking, volunteer at local organizations in need, and get hands-on mentorship from our expert leadership facilitators. Along the way, they’ll get to know their own strengths and talents, and begin to open their minds to the endless possibilities for their futures.
An amazing website that connects millions of youth around the world. They have a database of opportunities available locally, provincially, nationally and globally.
Quantum physics is a crazy theory but every experiment done so far backs it up: the world really is a crazy place. Particles can be in more than one place at the same time and quantum computers really could solve in a flash problems that make today’s supercomputers stumble. Even teleportation isn’t science fiction. But fiction is what we’re looking for. After last year’s Quantum Shorts film competition drew some fantastic short films, this year we want stories.
We challenge you to take inspiration from quantum theory to write flash fiction: a short story no longer than 1000 words. Don’t think you have to make it full of explano-babble, weird science or quantum powered-gadgets: as long as it is engaging, and clearly linked to some aspect of the quantum world, we’d love to read your entry. To help, we’ve suggested some themes and styles you might want to explore – visit our inspiration pages to learn more.
Grade(s): Student competition is open to ages 13-18
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/streamishmc/2340150187/