Enfield student attending SHAD in July

ENFIELD: Enfield’s Megan Deering will be one of the 801 high school students are looking forward to taking the summer off so they can take part in one of this country’s top incubators for youth innovation and entrepreneurship.

The students will be participating in SHAD, the unique and award-winning Canadian enrichment program that has helped develop the raw skills and talents of close to 16,000 youth since 1980.

SHAD has helped produce 32 Rhodes Scholars in that time and many other leading innovators and entrepreneurs are part of the SHAD Network including Michele Romanow, a serial entrepreneur and television personality on CBC’s Dragons’ Den.

Three SHAD alumni — or Fellows as they’re known — are currently advising Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as part of his Government’s Youth Council including Simone Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh says SHAD introduced her for the first time to like-minded, similarly driven youth leaders and helped her see the impact she could have. She believes being part of the SHAD network and creating bonds that last a lifetime is more important than ever for the students and for the country.

“Canada right now is focused on innovation and youth and the best combination of those two things is at SHAD,” said Cavanaugh.

SHAD President and CEO Tim Jackson says SHAD 2017 students are in for the summer of their lives: “Past students rave about the program and how it transforms them. That’s why we’re trying to ensure SHAD is known and available to every eligible student across the country.”

SHAD offers bursaries to students with financial need and recently announced a partnership with Pathways to Education to help students from more marginalized communities attend the program. A record 13 Canadian university campuses from coast to coast will play host to SHAD this summer including Ryerson University, the first program hosted in Toronto. Governor General David Johnston, who has made innovation one of his pillars, was on hand for the launch of the program at Ryerson in May.

“What you do is develop people who look at the world a different way. They become game changers. They know how to alter things for the better,” said the Governor General, adding, “It’s so important for the country that SHAD scale up and scale out.”