Stu Speaks
Stu Speaks

A Message of Leadership and Laughter.

Stu Speaks - inspiration that moves you to fly.

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Mon, 2015-09-14 14:58

This time of the year is simply our busiest in the office. We have SO much going on. We are beginning our fall season at our camps, getting ready for the 37th annual Ontario Student Leadership Conference (OSLC), my 25th year of speaking has begun and of course 2016 YLCC Summer Camp is filling up!

Now you might think 2016 summer camp is filling up? It’s only September 2015! You are right, but it’s true. We are filling up programs left, right and centre! It’s actually super exciting to be in the office today and hearing the phones ring off the hook and 4 staff just trying to keep up with the registrations and inquiries.

It wasn’t always this way! In fact it was very different. 20 years ago I remember sitting in our offices with some volunteers calling schools, teachers, parents and friends! Just trying to recruit campers for YLCC! Making all sorts of promises of extra archery time or a free t-shirt. It was hard. I even remember the first time we expanded to 6 weeks from 4. That first week had less than 20 campers show up. We had double the staff than campers. I can remember sitting with some senior staff members as they try to “reason” with me, “Stu, we gotta cancel the extra weeks, we will never fill them up!”

I never once backed down from my belief that it would work. I knew we had an amazing program and we just needed to create demand for it! Once we got a camper they were usually hooked. The parents saw the benefit of the leadership curriculum, how their children grew and were more aware. The ball started rolling, we just kept growing.

Last year YLCC had close to 1,700 campers over 9 weeks. A massive difference from the 300 we had 13 years ago. By tomorrow night we will be almost 70% full for next summer. We are 9 months away from our summer staff training (pre-camp). It’s exciting to see!

People often ask about our success, how it happened! I always like to respond with this statement, “It only took me 23 years to become an overnight success!”

This applies to not just entrepreneurship. It applies to your school, family, health, sports, whatever. Jordan and Gretzky were uber talented but they worked harder than almost anyone in their sport. Relentless in their practice and learning from their failures.

Many entrepreneurs, students, athletes, young and old, seem to be looking for the quick fix. The money maker. The easy path. In fact there aren’t that many real “overnight” successes. Richard Branson didn’t become the billionaire that he is today quickly. The Virgin brand took more than 30 years to build. He had many failures!

If you believe in your dream, your idea, your passion. Stick with it! Never give up. You may have to adjust, refine and change the direction of your plan but stick with it. There’s a reason why not everyone is a success. It takes hard work and an ability to see far into the future. So keep going, you can be STUpendous!

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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