CLAY Conference

McMaster Students Union's Creating Leadership Amongst Youth (MSU CLAY)

The CLAY Conference is a 3-day, 2-night leadership conference held annually in May at Camp Trillium for high school students across Hamilton and the GTA who wish to develop their leadership skills, challenge themselves and cultivate lasting friendships with other delegates and staff members.

The conference provides a unique opportunity to share and expand their knowledge in an open, innovative and interactive session-based environment. Delegates are led through a variety of session-based activities that encourage self-exploration of topics such as: group dynamics, trust and risk, empowerment, support and wellness, and self/social awareness. These sessions are facilitated by McMaster student leaders who help to foster personal and collective growth amongst delegates, while forming powerful mentorship bonds and friendships. This conference represents McMaster University’s commitment to youth within the community. We hope to provide an experience that all are able to attend, and welcomed to enjoy. The CLAY conference is shaped by its attendees - by their energy, their perspective, and by the experiences that have ultimately shaped them.

CLAY brings together high-school students from all across the greater McMaster/Hamilton/GTA community for a fantastic weekend of learning, leadership and a lot of fun. The delegate fees for the weekend are an all-inclusive fee covering the first minute you arrive to the very end of the conference, this includes transportation, accommodations, food, programming and swag.

All delegates are expected to find transportation to and from McMaster University, where the conference will start and end. However, the majority of the conference will occur at Camp Trillium Rainbow Lake, a professional setting well suited to meet the needs of each delegate and the conference as a whole.

Please check back for updates on staff team hiring and delegate registration! For any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the CLAY Coordinator (Giancarlo Da-Ré) by e-mail at clay@msu.mcmaster.ca

If you require any accommodations please contact clay@msu.mcmaster.ca and we can try out best to provide them.

Any student who is currently attending high school from grades 9 to 12 are eligible to participate as a delegate at CLAY. You do not require any previous leadership or extra-curricular experience to register.


CLAY was founded 1992 by the McMaster Students Union as an opportunity to create strong relationships between McMaster undergraduate students and the surrounding community. McMaster has one of the most diverse student bodies in Canada, and is dedicated to providing a balanced education by offering students the opportunity to work with, and support McMaster’s fellow communities. CLAY provides McMaster and high school students an environment conducive for collaboration. Both McMaster undergraduate students and conference delegates will be able to learn from each other, and participate in a diverse range of interactive sessions throughout the conference. These sessions provide the chance for self-discovery, for self-growth and aim to empower leadership among McMaster students and high school delegates.

Supervision & Security

At Camp-Trillium, the ratio of CLAY Staff to Students is greater than 1:3, with 60 CLAY staff on site, as well as around the clock security. The CLAY team takes pride in maintaining a fun leadership development opportunity that is also safe and secure. Our entire staff team is also required to get updated vulnerable sector checks from their local Police Station prior to the conference.


All meals at Camp Trillium are high quality, delicious, and flexibly sized - if you are still hungry you can go up for seconds! Additionally, all types of allergies and dietary restrictions can be accommodated. Since CLAY takes place during Ramadan this year, early and late meal times before and after sunrise are planned for those who would like this accommodation.

There is a space on the CLAY registration form to indicate any requested meal accommodations or restrictions, and if any more information is needed, please contact CLAY@msu.mcmaster.ca


Camp Trillium Rainbow Lake is a beautiful state of the art facility! The cost to rent the camp for the CLAY weekend goes towards providing children with cancer and their loved ones the opportunity to go the camp. Camp Trillium is fully accessible, with ramps leading into every building, All cabins are furnished with bunk beds, and showers and bathrooms. For more information please visit: http://camptrillium.com/rainbowlake/


CLAY’s Planning Team is dedicated to ensuring that every delegate is accommodated for their own individual needs. Camp Trillium is a fully accessible camp, with ramps leading into all buildings.


The standard cost is $165 (plus HST). Please note that CLAY Is a non-profit conference - the delegate fee goes towards the payments of costs incurred during the conference. For individual registrations, payments must be made through our online portal. For organizations and administrators who are sending/paying for a group of students, please email CLAY@msu.mcmaster.ca


- Bus transportation from McMaster University to Camp Trillium and from Camp Trillium to McMaster University.

- All meals, between-meal snacks, and beverages

- Themed conference T-shirt, themed swag, delegate manual, and lanyards

- Paid entertainment and motivational speaker

- AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: an unforgettable experience!


Registration fees may be subsidized if students are in need of financial assistance. Please contact CLAY@msu.mcmaster.ca for additional information.


Registration occurs online on the McMaster Student Union website, at the CLAY page located under the SURVEYS tab (left side of the page). Stay tuned to find out when registration will open for CLAY 2019.

If you require any accommodations or have any questions, please email the Conference Coordinator (Giancarlo Da-Ré) at CLAY@msu.mcmaster.ca











Icon-twitter MSU_CLAY Tweets
Icon-facebook Facebook