University of Calgary

Kinesiology class helps mould junior high students into leaders

UToday HomeApril 5, 2013

By Don McSwiney

The Kinesiology 311 TRAILS leadership studentsThe Kinesiology 311 TRAILS leadership students gathered after an evening of activities preparing the Vincent Massey students for Saturday's leadership event at the University of Calgary. Photo by Court RustemeyerVince Lombardi once famously said, “Leaders are made, they are not born,” a belief shared by Kinesiology students who will try their hand at shaping a few leaders on April 6.

The entire Kinesiology 311 class will try to identify and mould 70 junior high students into leaders during a fun-packed activity day, explain Amanda Garner, a fourth-year BKin major, and Mallory Love, a third-year Pedagogy and Coaching major.

“No, we didn’t lose a bet!” says Garner with a laugh, “we’re working with Vincent Massey Junior High’s excellent outdoor leadership program. Part of the agenda on our leadership day is to help identify the kids who have leadership skills, so I think they’ll be working really hard to succeed.”

The junior high program teaches kids independence and leadership skills, culminating in a week-long camping trip at the end of Grade 8. The kids who excel during their Kinesiology leadership challenge day will be identified as potential candidates for that excursion – but it won’t be easy.

“Oh, we have some great challenges for them, like ‘the electric fence’ for example,” says Love. “The electric fence” is a challenge in which a group has to get their entire team over and through a web-like fence without getting ‘shocked.’

Vincent Massey's Grade 7 outdoor leadership studentsSome of Vincent Massey's Grade 7 outdoor leadership students learn what’s in store for them Saturday at the TRAILS leadership event hosted by Kinesiology 311's Leadership Foundations class. Photo by Court Rustemeyer“If anybody gets ‘shocked’ they have to start over again,” explains Love. “So it forces leaders to be very strategic. To get your team across safely you have to problem solve, work together and really trust the members of your team.”

The activity day is the final project for Kinesiology 311, and it’s been dubbed TRAILS Leadership Day (teamwork, respect, attitude, initiative, laughter and success). According to Love, the laughter may well be the biggest part of it. “We want it to be fun most of all,” she explains, “we want to help them develop teamwork, trust and problem solving but it has to be fun. We want this to be a day that they look back on and think about the rest of their lives.”

The two students are in awe of the Vincent Massey outdoors program, and are pleased to be a part of the education process for the future leaders. “Court Rustemeyer, the teacher who leads the program is amazing,” says Garner, “those kids go into the program as children and come out as young adults, so I think we feel privileged to be able to assist in that process.”


Follow UToday on Twitter.
Check the UToday website for news about events, people and trends at University of Calgary.
Follow what’s happening on campus using our interactive calendar.