A Student's Perspective on Youth Leadership

The following Blog was written by Megan Barrs, who completed her Fieldwork Placement with us at the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association head office in Regina, Saskatchewan as per the requirements for her degree program as a Bachelor of Kinesiology at the University of Regina.

At 18 I thought I had my life all planned out, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and where my degree would take me, but was I ever wrong. As a kinesiology student you are constantly put in a bubble by society of what you are going to do with your life. Everyone thinks when you say you are in Kinesiology you will become one of three things:

1. Physiotherapist

2. Personal Trainer

3. Physical Education Teacher

In my third year of University, when I realized none of those were things I wanted to do, I became worried about my future. I was scared there was nothing in this field for me and that all my hard work during the first few years of University would be for nothing. I was wrong. I became more interested in the promotion of health, rather than the reactive/rehab side. When looking into where I would do my fieldwork I knew I wanted to work with an organization that focused on improving Saskatchewan residents’ overall well-being, through various avenues, and I was beyond lucky to find Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association (SPRA).

During my fieldwork search I stumbled upon an article discussing a program called Take the Lead!®. This program combines improving youth leadership skills and physical activity levels into one. When looking further into the program, I became more intrigued of all the things SPRA had to offer. After browsing through their website and reading up on the multiple programs, services and events put on by SPRA,  I knew this is where my fieldwork needed to take place.

During my time at SPRA I have worked on various tasks with a many different professionals, but my favourite would have to be my special project. As a requirement of completion for my fieldwork a special project is needed to be completed and what better program to focus this project on than Take the Lead!®. In hopes of helping Take the Lead!® grow I began work on a promotional piece focusing on why the Youth Leaders enjoyed being part of Take the Lead!®. This project would involve the youth taking pictures and pairing them with captions to get their thoughts across. In order to do this I had to recruit a school that would be willing to assist me with the completion of this project. After receiving a glowing recommendation from the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region (RQHR), Glen Elm was the obvious choice to work with. So I teamed up with Mr. Pelling, Ms. Baran and the Youth Leaders of Glen Elm and we began the photo taking process.

Having the opportunity to work alongside these youth, and hear their reasoning behind why they are involved with Take the Lead!® made my admiration for this program grow even more. Each youth had something different to say about how the program made them feel, and I was amazed by how each of them interpreted the program. It was incredible to see firsthand the difference these youth are making in their school and the inspirational role they play on their peers.

Take the Lead!® is a program that is so much more than a way to get kids physically active, it’s about building friendships, growing confidence and improving leadership skills. It is something that is going to push kids further in their future, whether it is at school, work or on a sports team, the lessons learned from Take the Lead! are something these youth can carry with them for the rest of their lives. I believe this is something that should be included in schools everywhere, as it allows the children to development in ways that no book or lesson plan can.

My time at SPRA had opened my eyes up to the vast amount of possibilities I can do with my career. Leaving here I am ready to "Take the Lead!" for my future.