YLTP as seen by a mentor

by Craig Luccock

It has been a privilege to be part of the diocesan Youth Leadership Training Program (YLTP) for the past three years and facilitate six outstanding young men and women in their leadership journey at YLTP.

While I have only been in the diocese for a short time, I have gained a deep appreciation for the rich legacy the YLTP program has had in Niagara Diocese. We all see the fruit borne from the seeds planted year after year during March Break at Canterbury Hills.

My journey began in March of 2016 when I met the young people whom I would mentor through the YLTP program. What I noticed right away about the group was their genuine desire to engage with the program. In addition, they bonded very quickly, and I could see the beginnings of what will, no doubt, be lifelong friendships.

The outdoors in March at Canterbury Hills provides an ideal location for Niagara’s Youth Leadership Training Program. Photo: Su Mcleod

The first year of the program focuses on the phrase “I am”. Year 1 provides the opportunity to begin the journey of self-discovery. Participants learn their strengths, as well as those areas for growth and development.

In the second year, Maria Nightingale joined me as co-mentor to the group. Maria’s ability to bring in a strong reflective practice in the learning process was greatly appreciated.

Year 2 focuses on the phrase “I Can” and is designed to help the participants develop the necessary skills to carry out a Year 3 project. There they seek to make a meaningful positive impact on their community, while also furthering their own social, emotional and spiritual development.

In Year 3, our focus is on “I Will”. While there is a reflective piece on their completed Year 3 projects, the real focus is on how they will be future leaders in the church and community.

Mentors Maria Nightingale (left) and Craig Luccock (second from right) with young people of the YLTP program. Photo: Su Mcleod

Maria and I were very impressed with the quality and diversity of Year 3 projects. These included raising money and school supplies for a school in Belize and the implementation of a Sunday School program at a local church. In addition, there were clothing drives, bake sales, food drives and a fundraising event for local charities.

It was a profoundly impactful experience for me and I feel blessed and privileged to be a part of the YLTP program.

The Reverend Craig Luccock is Chaplain at Appleby College Oakville.