Summer Fun & Learning at Watson’s Mill

Watson's Mill

Mini-Wheats and Future Leaders 

“If you were stranded on a deserted island, what two things would you bring?”


Hmm. A smartphone? No. There might not be reception. A helicopter? Nope. You wouldn’t be stranded if you had a helicopter.

How about a survival kit? A knife? Fire starter? A water purifying kit? A friend? Those are the most common responses to the question from young people who answer it. While nobody’s going to deposit them on a slice of land with a palm tree in the middle of the ocean, this summer they will get the chance to learn, in hands-on ways, about leadership. They’ll also spend a week helping supervise kids at summer day camp. Exciting? Yes. Marooned? Definitely not.


Watson's Mill


Thankfully, friends and fun will be plentiful.
The deserted island question is on the registration form for the Watson’s Mill Leader in Training (LIT) Program. And most answers are very practical, says Elaine Eagen, programming and visitor experience officer at Watson’s Mill Manotick Inc. “This question gives us a snapshot of the participant’s problem solving skills and reasoning.”


Watson's Mill


Kids aged 13 to 16 who are part of this summer learning program develop transferable life skills they can use for the future. They also rack up volunteer hours that can be used to fulfill the high school graduation requirement. The bonus? They’ll be spending time with peers at a pretty nifty local landmark.

Built in 1859-60 in Manotick, historic Watson’s Mill is not only a working grist and flour mill, it’s also an educational, cultural and social hub. For the last 10 years, kids aged six to 12 have been heading there for Mini-Wheats Summer Camp. Since 2014, the LIT opportunity has been added to the mix.


Watson's Mill

Mini-Wheats camp runs for four weeks. Each week has a theme and includes crafts, games and special guests. No two days are the same. In the leadership program, Elaine notes, “Participants explore the skills of goal setting, communication, creative problem solving and teamwork through a variety of activities.” The teens particularly enjoy the problem solving and team building games.
The training portion of the program takes place July 6 to 8.


Watson's Mill
New skills are then put into practice as the older kids serve as Mini-Wheats camp counsellors. Along with general duties, each leader in training “is responsible for taking the lead of one activity during the summer camp, whether that is preparing and leading a craft, overseeing a sport or game or co-ordinating break time.”
While most of the youngsters are from Manotick, there are participants from Kars and Barrhaven as well. A lot of kids go for more than one week and it’s not uncommon for LIT applicants to be former campers. Since they had such a good time as Mini-Wheats, they want to stay involved as leaders. For details, see

  • All images courtesy of Watson’s Mill.

Watson's Mill



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