More than ever, customers, community members, entrepreneurs and employees are looking for businesses that fulfill social and environmental responsibility in a truly authentic way...co-operatives do that, it's built right into our DNA.
As a provincial organization, our priority is to listen to our members and they have been asking for ways to connect with youth in their communities and support youth education. We also recognize that educators don't currently have the tools to teach students about co-ops in a meaningful way, and we need to support our teachers by providing engaging, dynamic and simple-to-use resources to bring co-operatives to life in classrooms throughout Ontario. The future of the co-op sector rests in the hands of today's youth, but co-op's are still the "best kept secret" in the business world. It's time to change that and introduce students to a new way of doing business, one that puts people before profit and brings communities together to solve issues that affect us all.
OCA supports co-operative education with three target audiences in mind: those employed in the co-operative sector, the general public and youth.
Engaging and educating our youth on the co-operative values and business model opens many doors for them personally and professionally, every day brings with it new opportunities for youth to learn and develop their skills and their understanding of the world around them.
The Co-operative Minds program consists of a suite of free lesson plans and resources developed by the Ontario Co-operative Association, to help introduce young people to the value of cooperation and the co-operative business model.
Our team of creators includes Ontario certified teachers, as well as educators and consultants working in the co-operative business sector. Co-operative Minds uses the principles of integrative learning to inspire creative collaboration, encourage resilience and prepare students for the challenge of solving problems in their lives both professionally and personally.
“Having the framework of Co-operative Minds was very helpful for the participants. I know that the groups used the worksheet to draw up their own projects. It was an excellent framework for them. I would like this to be part of the curriculum for the Visionaries going forward.”
Director, Co-operative Young Leaders Camp
“Facilitating and participating in the Co-operative Minds program this summer was fun, insightful and a wonderful opportunity to work with youth. The process is clearly defined and all participants were eager to take on the challenge and share their thoughts and ideas with others."
"As a facilitator, the program was simple to learn and a joy to facilitate. The Co-operative minds program is integral to the future successes and growth of the co-operative sector...we highly encourage the engagement of all other co-operative businesses to support this program and assist in inspiring a brighter, more collaborative future."