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Campers take the lead at Mini U

July 28, 2014 — 

Summer at the University of Manitoba means fun and fitness for kids at Mini U, and this year they’re taking the lead on developing an important skill.

“U Lead” challenges young Mini U campers to take on leadership roles within their programs, providing them with daily challenges to complete. The goal is to develop the next generation of leaders in physical activity, while teaching children about the importance of community and personal self-worth.

“Our program strives to create a community that embraces the strengths, skills and abilities of all its participants,” said Jay Gamey, director of Mini U programs.

“Children and youth are able to be the leaders in a variety of settings, creating an environment that is safe to explore their potential to meaningfully impact others.”

The challenges are based on five key areas: reflection, building relationships, problem solving, communication and teamwork.

How each day’s challenge is handled is up to the campers. It may involve coming up with a new idea for a game, teaching a fellow camper a certain skill, or simply embracing a new friendship. Selected programs will have scheduled time for team building, but campers are encouraged to demonstrate leadership at any time.

2013 Mini U Statistics

2013 Mini U Statistics

Mini U’s commitment to developing young leaders extends to staff, with 78% of them having attended the summer camp as a child. One of those former campers is Neil Noonan, Mini U Programs Supervisor and U of M student.

“Growing up through Mini U, I’ve looked up to all kinds of leaders,” said Noonan.

“Now with our leadership initiative, children won’t just be exposed to leaders; they will have the chance to experience being one themselves.”

Nearly all staff – including 250 university students and community members – said that Mini U has positively impacted their academic studies.

For 36 years, the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management has offered Mini U for children between the ages of four to 16 to come discover science, connect with their creative side and learn new physical skills. This summer they welcome 5,800 children to the U of M to take part in 62 programs, including new ones tennis, flag football, and 3D printing.

Click here for more information on Mini U and the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management.

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