Leadership and teambuilding skills are key for our growth and social development in a community as well as in the workforce, and the Western Québec School Board incorporates these skills wherever possible. In a classroom setting, we often see educators weave these teachings into group projects, and coaches into their sports teams and training. In 2010, educators Alan Earwaker and Steve Greig took leadership skills to another level, creating and coordinating the Destination Leadership program.
Destination Leadership (DL) has grown immensely over the years and takes place during the peak of Autumn. It first began in 2010 with D’Arcy McGee HS and it quickly grew to include six high schools. In 2023, there were a total of 45 students, plus a teacher leader from each school in participation. Schools included during this year’s program were Noranda School, Dr. Wilbert Keon School, St. Michael’s HS, Pontiac HS, Philemon Wright HS, and D’Arcy McGee HS.
The list of activities done during the three days of Destination Leadership is vast. Some activities engage students in a large, whole group teambuilding program, while other activities are done in small groups, where there is more room for deeper group discussions. In 2011 the Destination Imagination (DI) project was brought into the WQSB with the goal of having DL students (Grades 10 and 11), leading activities for primary school students, and volunteering to assist in running the DI tournament.
Teamwork challenges to the Destination Leadership program focuses on acquiring knowledge about becoming a leader, combined with the opportunity to practice and develop leadership skills and values. Qualities that are emphasized include respect, trust, cooperation, collaboration, compassion, participation, effective communication, positive attitude and problem-solving.
Over the years, Destination Leadership has given hundreds of students a safe space and the guidance needed to step into leadership roles with confidence. It is a unique program that not only provides students with an opportunity for building character and leadership skills, but also to develop the students’ feelings of self-worth and a sense of community within the Western Québec School Board.
Thank you to Alan Earwaker and Steve Greig for collaborating on this article and providing the information about DL, as well as the photographs from this year’s Destination Leadership program.