Leadership training opportunities coming for local young people

By Lindsay Advocate

Young local youth will have more opportunities to develop their skills and confidence for leadership thanks to the new Rural Youth Leadership Fund being hosted by the Community Foundation of Kawartha Lakes.

Founded by long-time Fenelon Falls resident, Mike Perry, the fund will cover costs – including tuition, accommodation, transportation – and even pay for any lost wages – for young people in Kawartha Lakes to participate in training programs offered by the Institute For Change Leaders (ICL): www.changeleaders.ca.

“We are pleased to provide this opportunity to build youth leadership here in Kawartha Lakes,” said Foundation president Jack Roks. “This will help local young people to access the latest, greatest, leadership training.”

The ICL combines the art of personal self-discovery with concrete organizing skills to help people channel their inner leader and learn to make change in areas they are interested in. The ICL uses unique methods from Harvard University.

“I started this fund as I know our local young people have the voice and power to strengthen our communities going forward,” said Perry in a media release. “I just want to help them access training from the best in the business, to bring their new knowledge home to their work in our Kawartha Lakes communities.”

Former Lindsay resident Jessica Topfer, 25, is thrilled to have access to leadership training. “As a young person, having affordable access to learning resources positions me better to participate in spaces and conversations that young folks are usually not truly included in, especially decision making.” Topfer says she is thankful for this opportunity to grow personally and professionally, in order to shape the world she wants to see.

All of the high schools in Kawartha Lakes – LCVI, I.E. Weldon, Fenelon, and St. Thomas Aquinas – will be receiving information about the leadership fund.

“Our young people know what’s missing in our communities and I’m thrilled that this fund wants to engage with youth in this capacity,” stated vice-principal of Fenelon Falls Secondary School (FFSS) Elizabeth Alton. “Students here have already expressed interest in strengthening our community through their leadership and this opportunity will definitely help.”

FFSS Grade 12 student, Ryder Lytle,17, is excited about the opportunity. Lytle lives in Kirkfield and has his own business on the side while in high school. “It’s awesome this fund is being created to help us grow and learn about how to lead and change things for the better,” he said. “I’m considering taking the program and would recommend everyone check it out. Classmate Emily Smith agrees that the fund will inspire community involvement and benefit those who use it to take training. Logan MacInnis, who grew up in Fenelon Falls and has seen “some very significant changes for the better,” says he is happy to see the fund which he calls “very significant.”

Established to help our community grow and prosper in the next 150 years, the Community Foundation of Kawartha Lakes works to strengthen the local philanthropic network, linking people who care, with gaps in local human services, public infrastructure, and community economic development, by guiding the creation of lasting legacy funds. The Community Foundation of Kawartha Lakes administers more than $1 million locally.

If you are, or someone you know is, aged 17-29 and a resident of Kawartha Lakes, contact the Community Foundation of Kawartha Lakes at 705-928-5953 for fully funded leadership training.

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