The RBC 21st Century Leadership Skills Pilot Program, 2018


Ontario, 2018 – In the summer of 2018, Easter Seals Canada and Easter Seals Ontario ran an exciting new pilot program, The RBC 21st Century Leadership Skills Pilot Program, at Camp Woodeden and Camp Merrywood in Ontario. The program seeks to address the significant educational attainment, employment and wage/income-earning gaps1 between persons living with disabilities relative to other Canadians (1Statistics Canada).

A total of 43 participants took part in the pilot program which was generously funded by RBC Bank and was geared towards youth and young adults participants between the ages of 15 and 29 years old who are living with disabilities. The program aimed to help position participants for future success in their lives and careers by creating and implementing a transformative leadership curriculum—which includes both online and offline learning, as well as experiential opportunities—that would support them in building and strengthening their 21st century skills, capacities and competencies. According to research and studies, such 21st century skills are critical for future success in an increasingly competitive, knowledge-driven, global economy.

During the program, participants took part in a variety of activities – with content contributions from Easter Seals’ partner, Junior Achievement (London & District) – that developed their 21st century skills such as leadership, teamwork, critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving, communication, networking, flexibility, cultural awareness, financial literacy, and digital and media literacy.  A highlight of the program for many participants was the opportunity for them to apply their skills and knowledge gained by planning, developing and implementing volunteer activities for the wider local community. For instance, participants of the leadership program at Camp Merrywood helped organize and run a Bingo Night—in partnership with the Rotary Club of Smiths Falls—which drew in over 150 adults from the community.

The following are some highlights of results and accomplishments from the pilot program:

  • 86% of participants “agreed’ or “strongly agreed” that the materials and experiences they received boosted their confidence about their skills and abilities, and about their future life and work goals.
  • 89% of participants agreed that they were able to develop or strengthen their 21st century skills though the pilot program.
  • 83% of participants agreed that they would be able to apply the knowledge and skills they gained in their lives in the future, and 85% would recommend the program to others.

“It’s great to have access to this program and learning skills. Thank you for all that you do!”– Program participant

“This program has given me a chance to grow and learn to bring back to my community, home, school, employment and volunteer jobs! Thank you!”– Program participant

Easter Seals gratefully acknowledges and thanks RBC Bank for its generous funding for the RBC 21st Century Leadership Pilot Program, as well as Junior Achievement (London & District) and other partners for their contributions toward the success of this program. 

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