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Leadership Is Heart

Thu, 2017-10-12 13:32

This one is important.

Yesterday at YLCC we held a celebration of life for a 17 year old camper. A young girl that took her own life. She was a beautiful, fun, talented teenager that could not find peace. It was one of the saddest things I have ever been part of. I was asked to speak on behalf of YLCC. She had said that summer camp was the only place that she felt truly happy. I understand. Research shows we need to connect kids with green, nature. It heals. It’s why I did not hesitate when asked if family and friends could gather in our dining hall and remember together on a beautiful fall day. More than 400 people showed up. We had a… lovely service, I guess. I say, “I guess” because I struggle with what to do next. How do we stop this? Is there an easy solution? The answer is no. It’s a constant struggle.

This morning I was chatting with one of our amazing camp health team. We talked about the challenges of mental health and I said we just keep pushing forward, keep making connections, keep trying to reach more youth with positivity and meet them where we can on their journey. At summer camp we are working on a new protocol for helping and understanding. It won’t be perfect, it will be a work in constant change, but we will.

Recently I was questioned by an adult in education if I was doing this for the right reasons. I couldn’t really be just trying to reach kids and help? I must have a financial goal or ulterior motive. I know I don’t. But, I will never change the doubters, I can’t. There will always be cynics and critics. I don’t care. I am actually just trying to reach more kids with substance and tools to become better humans and leaders. There’s a weird notion that if you are doing good for others you can’t or shouldn’t make living at it. I think that’s where we are a bit broken. If we celebrated the people who run companies, for-profit companies, that do good in the world and showed youth you can make a GREAT living by changing the world, helping others, caring for the planet, developing youth leaders what an awesome planet we could create. I am now more motivated to have LESS events like we had yesterday. It’s why I wanted to make the film “Rising Above”. To give youth hope who struggle. It I am able to pay someone to promote that message and take the film across Canada… AWESOME. We have speakers that work hard, making SO much less than our corporate colleagues but still try and make a difference in young people’s lives! Let’s embrace these change makers, these incredible humans of positivity.

Maybe if we do, the heroes of our young people won’t be just hockey and basketball players, rappers and rock stars, movie stars and models. They will be story tellers, ethical entrepreneurs, teachers, social activists and healers.

I would rather see a teacher, entrepreneur or nurse be paid a million dollars than another basketball player make 30 million dollars. Maybe then our youth will measure their lives based on their impact on the planet and not their likes on Instagram. What if?

That’s why YLCC offers so many amazing programs, speakers and events to change the conversation to make a difference. That’s my mission, it can be yours too.

In leadership and gratitude,

Stu Saunders
Founder YLCC Inc.
twitter/instagram: @ylccstu

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  • Stu Speaks

    Students were very engaged, enthusiastic and excited. Stu is hilarious…seriously. “Humour is never a bad thing” said one student.

    ~Annalisa Varano - Vice Principal - St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School
  • Stu Speaks

    They say a great presenter “leaves them wanting more”. Well, we loved your presentation and the entire team asked me when you will be back! You are truly STUpendous!

    ~Nancy Klensch - Founder of Summit Kids
  • Stu Speaks

    Stu is an energetic, entertaining and dynamic presenter. He captures is audiences’ attention and keeps the room engaged for the entire presentation! His stories in his presentation captures everyone at different points, even the teachers!

    ~Sara Meaney - Cobourg Collegiate Institute
  • Stu Speaks

    Stu was great! Staff and students felt it really broke the anxiety in the building and we even got cupcakes today from one of the students.

    ~Carrie Rowlandson - William Aberhart High School, Calgary Alberta
  • Stu Speaks

    Stu was fantastic. There is nothing better than seeing 600 adolescents laughing their heads off. He delivers a terrific message and has the entire audience engaged, thinking, listening and most importantly laughing within seconds, and he keeps it going for over an hour. Thanks again on behalf of the Shores!!

    ~Doug Woods - Vice Principal, Nantyr Shores Secondary School
  • Stu Speaks

    Stu’s speech did exactly what I hoped it would do when I tried to bring him in: it brought the school together for a good laugh while empowering the student body to be the change they wish to see in their classroom. I feel he hit this goal perfectly.

    ~Steven Fotheringham - Oakville Trafalgar High School
  • Stu Speaks

    I really liked how the speech really just seemed like Stu was telling us funny stories, but he always related it back to the overall message. It didn’t sound like a speech at all, it was as if he was just talking to the crowd. I would say that he is excellent in connecting with the audience and keeping them entertained. There was not a two minute period in Stu’s speech were nobody was laughing. He kept us amused throughout the entire presentation. I thought he was perfect.

    ~James Palloto
  • Stu Speaks

    I would highly recommend Stu, his engaging personality was a real hook for the students and his messages were ones that many of them could identify with. The humour was great and the students shared that they enjoyed the presentation.

    ~Teresa Fowler - W.H. Croxford High School, Airdrie, Alberta
  • Stu Speaks

    Stu is personable. Students are willing to listen to him. They enjoy listening to him. He has a message, but he is also entertaining. He is fun to listen to and students don’t feel talked down to or preached at.

    ~Tanya Lacey - McKinnon Park Secondary School, Caledonia, ON
  • Stu Speaks

    I was at the OCA conference on May 6th, and I just wanted to thank you on being such a wicked keynote… you definitely put me back in the camp mindset and reminded me of what’s truly important about the up-coming summer. Once again, a job very well done.

    ~Emily Summers
  • Stu Speaks

    The students really enjoyed Stu’s humour and low-key but critical message about getting involved and getting the most out of their High School experience. I would recommend Stu as a speaker who relates well to students, is funny, and gets the message out without preaching.

    Thank you,

    ~Lynn Toye