Y Leadership and The Shirtless Dancing Guy

“The first follower is what transforms a lone nut into a leader.” – Derek Sivers on TED.com

The Bow Valley of Alberta is a remarkable place. The scenery, of course, draws millions of tourists each year. Visitors and residents alike flock to this Mountain Mecca, allured by the invigorating fresh air, illustrious peaks and an opportunity to connect with nature in a new way. People come and go like waves on the shore. And while the area is known for its transience – students coming for summer, Aussies coming for winter and weekenders coming for a short holiday – the region is chock-full of inspiring people that are here to stay. Passionate people have emerged from the woodwork and done amazing things as leaders in their communities. (Chandra Crawford and her Fast and Female campaign to empower girls through sport comes to mind.)

There is so much more bubbling beneath the surface. This weekend I’ll be attending Y Leadership, a foundational leadership development program for 18 to 30 year-olds, that intersects leadership and experience-based learning. This program, being offered by local partners, including The YWCA, Reframe Leadership, Pacific Center for Leadership and Corporate Funk, is in its pilot phase and I have the opportunity to learning and growing along with a dozen other attendees. I’ll be there to develop professionally, but I’ve also been asked to come as a writer who can bring the message and learning from this program to others through online and print publications.

One thing I’ll be thinking about is how I, as an outdoor, travel and adventure writer, can be a leader in my community, through the pieces I publish and the research I conduct on a daily basis. How might my own learning as a writer affect the planet?

The program faculty sent us two things to take a look at prior to the course starting on Friday. One was a fascinating article in the Financial Post about how Generation Y Will Evolve Leadership. The second was a TED talk by Derek Sivers about How to Start a Movement. At only 3 minutes, the video is well-worth watching here and now! Plus, it’ll answer any questions you might have about the title of this post.

The program runs this Friday, August 5, to Sunday, August 7th. Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting leadership program in Banff National Park.

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