New fund to cover costs of leadership training for young people in Kawartha Lakes

Rural Youth Leadership Fund was founded by Mike Perry and is hosted by Community Foundation of Kawartha Lakes

17-year-old Ryder Lytle (right) is one of several students at Fenelon Falls Secondary School interested in the Rural Youth Leadership Fund, which will cover the costs of Kawarthas Lakes residents aged 17 to 29 who want to participate in leadership training offered by the Institute For Change Leaders. Other interested students, pictured with vice principal Elizabeth Alton, include (left to right) Sophie Kaloudas, Olivia Van Schaik, Logan MacInnis, Emily Smith, as well as (not pictured) Anna Entzin-Telford. (Photo courtesy of Community Foundation of Kawartha Lakes)
17-year-old Ryder Lytle (right) is one of several students at Fenelon Falls Secondary School interested in the Rural Youth Leadership Fund, which will cover the costs of Kawarthas Lakes residents aged 17 to 29 who want to participate in leadership training offered by the Institute For Change Leaders. Other interested students, pictured with vice principal Elizabeth Alton, include (left to right) Sophie Kaloudas, Olivia Van Schaik, Logan MacInnis, Emily Smith, as well as (not pictured) Anna Entzin-Telford. (Photo courtesy of Community Foundation of Kawartha Lakes)

The Community Foundation of Kawartha Lakes has announced the new Rural Youth Leadership Fund that will cover the costs of Kawarthas Lakes residents aged 17 to 29 who want to participate in leadership training.

Founded by long-time Fenelon Falls resident Mike Perry, the fund will cover tuition for training programs offered by the Institute For Change Leaders as well as accommodation and transportation costs and even lost wages from participating in the programs.

“I started this fund as I know our local young people have the voice and power to strengthen our communities going forward,” Perry says in a media release. “I just want to help them access training from the best in the business, to bring their new knowledge home to their work in our Kawartha Lakes communities.”

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A registered Canadian charity, the Institute For Change Leaders (ICL) was founded in 2016 by Olivia Chow, the long-time activist, Toronto politician, and widow of late federal NDP leader Jack Layton. Using unique methods from Harvard University, ICL combines the art of personal self-discovery with concrete organizing skills to help people channel their inner leader and learn to make change in areas they are interested in.

“We are pleased to provide this opportunity to build youth leadership here in Kawartha Lakes,” says Community Foundation of Kawartha Lakes president Jack Roks. “This will help local young people to access the latest, greatest, leadership training.”

Lindsay resident Jessica Topfer, 25, says she is thrilled to have access to leadership training so she can grow both personally and professionally.

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“As a young person, having affordable access to learning resources positions me better to participate in spaces and conversations that young folks are usually not truly included in, especially decision making.” Topfer says.

The Community Foundation of Kawartha Lakes will be providing all high schools in Kawartha Lakes — Lindsay Collegiate and Vocational Institute, I.E. Weldon Secondary School, Fenelon Falls Secondary School, and St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School — with information about the Rural Youth Leadership Fund.

“Our young people know what’s missing in our communities and I’m thrilled that this fund wants to engage with youth in this capacity,” says Elizabeth Alton, vice-principal of Fenelon Falls Secondary School. “Students here have already expressed interest in strengthening our community through their leadership and this opportunity will definitely help.”

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One of those students is 17-year-old Ryder Lytle. The Grade 12 student, who lives in Kirkfield, also runs his own business.

“It’s awesome this fund is being created to help us grow and learn about how to lead and change things for the better,” Lytle says. “I’m considering taking the program and would recommend everyone check it out.”

For more information about the Rural Youth Leadership Fund, contact the Community Foundation of Kawartha Lakes at info@kawarthafoundation.ca or 705-928-5953. For more information about ICL, visit www.changeleaders.ca.