Because of Take the Lead! Ecole Centennial Community School in Regina, SK has Grade 6-8 students running their own intramurals program!.
I had an opportunity to learn more about how they have been able to run such a successful Take the Lead! program. I was VERY privileged to interview the Youth Leaders on their experiences with Take the Lead!.
In the fall of 2014, Grade 6/7 homeroom teacher, Laurie Blaire was trained as a Take the Lead! Leadership Coach. She was able to bring Take the Lead! Youth Leader training to her students by incorporating training into the Health Education classroom, as she states, “a lot of what is taught through Take the Lead! are also outcomes in the Health curriculum.”
Once the training was complete, the students took over the responsibility of planning and organizing the already active intramurals program (a recess gym club). Take the Lead! is run twice a day every day at Ecole Centennial Community School. The Take the Lead! Youth Leaders work in teams to run the program. Each month a schedule is set and each team knows for which days they are responsible.
Students in grades K-4 attend Take the Lead! and have established strong relationships with their Youth Leaders. The Youth Leaders see themselves as role models, and the best people to plan and implement the active play opportunities. One Youth Leader states, “At recess it makes me more confident of what I’m doing to help younger kids. When I didn’t have leaders, I just had intramurals and teachers did everything for us, but now we have kids, in our position who know what we like and all that more better than probably what some teachers might know. So, it’s better and I like being a leader.”
Not only do the Youth Leaders run a successful indoor
program, in the Spring and Fall these Take the Lead! Youth Leaders take their skills outdoors to incorporate more active play opportunities to more students. The Youth Leaders have become well versed in what games the kids like to play, often stating Tag is an all-time favourite. Games like tag focus on cooperation over competition. Laurie Blaire comments on this, “Take the Lead! has increased physical activity by bringing more students to gym club. Also, with the focus on cooperation and not competition students are always involved and moving during our activities.”
While physical activity is a positive outcome of Take the Lead! it is not the only one. Laurie states that Take the Lead! helps to improve the school community because, as she says, “the relationships being built are pretty neat.”
Take the Lead! also improves confidence, and helps the Youth Leaders to feel all sorts of good feelings. See here as they discuss what if feels like to be a Youth Leader: