What’s Shaping Our World? Leadership in Youth Development with Chris Tompkins

As a result of various stages of distance learning over the past year, I’ve witnessed my nine-year-old daughter masterfully design a Google Slides deck faster than anyone I know. This is software she normally wouldn’t be using in Grade 4 had she not been forced to — and I found myself learning a thing or two from her in the process.  

The reality is that kids have now become better and more efficient users of presentation software than their adult counterparts.

Chris Tompkins, Executive Director and COO at Muskoka Woods, had a similar experience recently.

“I tried to show my daughter how to use PowerPoint,” Chris says on the latest episode of the Leading With Nice Interview Series podcast. “She’s like, ‘Dad, this PowerPoint is lame. It doesn’t work. It’s not effective.’ And all of a sudden, she has greater knowledge in the efficiency of presentation decks than I do, who have been doing it for 20 years! And I have to be honest, she might not be wrong … I was like, ‘Oh yeah, that actually is better than the tool that I use.’ So all of a sudden expertise is changing because of access to information, frequency in using things … and a redefining of what success looks like in some of these arenas.”

All of this is to say that we, as adults, need to start actively listening to — and truly absorbing the wisdom of — those who were born a few decades after us.

“Organizations that will thrive in the future are the ones that are willing to learn from the next generation and not just try to fit them into the molds that have worked previously,” Chris says. “Having a real curiosity of what makes the next generation tick and how we can assimilate and utilize them in our organizations is a real key.”

Chris has almost 20 years of experience leading in local community, school, church and camp settings. Leadership should be taught young, he says, and as adults, our job is to be conscious of what is shaping their world. Check out the Leading With Nice Interview Series episode below for more invaluable insights from someone who has truly sought to help young people develop their full leadership potential.


Wait, there’s more! After you’ve listened to our episode, you’ll want to rush over to Chris’s podcast, Shaping Our World. We guarantee it’ll make you feel more confident in inspiring and understanding the young people in your life.