Teaching students "how to think, not what to think."
The seminar's primary focus is to teach students "how to think, not what to think." By opening up communication channels and interactive panel discussions, students can express their views in an accepting and judgment-free environment. Internationally recognized speakers are brought in to motivate the ambassadors and share stories and experiences about growing as a leader.
The seminar is run by a group of over 40 volunteers who each take on various tasks and roles throughout the planning stages and at the seminar. Most volunteers were previously COLS ambassadors who observed the program in action and wanted to become involved in this dynamic opportunity to promote youth leadership. No staff are paid for their time, and all staff over the age of have to provide a clear Vulnerable Sector Police Check as part of our policies.
Featuring a talented group of world-class speakers.
Every year we are proud to present a diverse range of speakers with various backgrounds, histories, and experiences to students each year. Students can hear from and interact with three keynote speakers at our conferences. Below are just some of the speakers that COLS has had the honour of hosting.
A weekend of collaboration, teamwork, and communication.
Team building activities are crucial to the growth of our student ambassadors. We show that leadership is developed through verbal and non-verbal communication, teamwork, and collaboration are important in all aspects of life. From the moment students arrive Friday morning until they leave Sunday afternoon, they progress through a series of activities, from breaking the ice with their group to team-building workshops and an opportunity to think and speak on their feet.
In addition to those activities, we offer a social event each night and a volunteer project that students participate in on Saturday morning to give back to our local and international communities.
Junior and senior leaders facilitate unique activities to “break the ice” for a dynamic and unique group of students previously never met.
The ambassadors attend six different team-building stations, where, as a group, they must work together to complete unique tasks that will also challenge their way of thinking and working together.
Ambassadors are given random topics they must discuss on the spot for one minute. This encourages them to think on their feet about challenging issues and improve their public speaking skills and confidence in front of groups.
Every year all 120 ambassadors participate in a volunteer project to emphasize the importance of giving back to the community. In 2011, a food drive sculpture competition was held for the Mississauga Food Bank, which generated over 766 pounds of food. Recently, we have made milk bag mats that are then sent overseas to developing countries.
Over the course of the weekend, students are engaged in a variety of discussion panels that change every year. COLS invites distinguished community, business, and government leaders to share their experiences and stories on a variety of topics and issues. Ambassadors are able to ask questions or comment on any matter raised during the panel or in smaller breakout groups that follow.
In addition to the other team-building activities, this program segment requires students to pick an activity they would not normally do in their everyday life. The students do not know the actual activity until they arrive at their station. Students can participate in martial arts, salsa dancing, cake decorating, improv, card making, and personal branding.
On Friday night, ambassadors participate in a dance and are encouraged to socialize with others. Other games and activities are also available.
Then on Saturday night, they participate in a variety show with their groups, each performing a 5-minute skit as it relates to the annual theme. These events promote communication, teamwork, and group planning.