|I worked at the YMCA of Central East Ontario for almost 7 years as a camp counsellor, coordinator and lifeguard at YMCA day camp. Most of my own upbringing has revolved around the YMCA. As a young child, I spent every day before and after school at YMCAs engaging in the great programs offered by caring and passionate staff. At the time, I certainly did not understand the impact it would have on my life. I attended my first Y camp around the age of 6 or 7. It was instantaneous – I loved camp! Even as I grew older, camp was all I knew.
Every year, I was able to attend camp for the full summer thanks to funding from the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign. My mom and I didn’t have much money and the YMCA was the only option so my mom could work. I made lasting memories each day with friends and I still talk with some of them to this day. I recognized the impact that counsellors had on me and I wanted to be a part of the next wave of counsellors shaping the young minds of the future. When I was old enough, I proudly finished the YMCA Leaders in Training program and Counsellor in Training program. The only thing left was to apply for a job at the YMCA to live out my dream to be a camp counsellor.
At first, I did not get hired. I was discouraged, but the leader of my YMCA Counsellor in Training program reached out to me and reassured me that I was meant to be working with kids in some capacity, so I shouldn’t get discouraged. I stayed optimistic because that’s what my counsellors instilled in me during my experiences at the YMCA. Sure enough, with perseverance, the YMCA called to offer me a full time position. My dream was achieved! I loved camp and to this day, I still do. The rest is history.
As someone who has grown up and worked at the YMCA, I have had the opportunity to observe the wonders the YMCA does for the community and the members they serve. I really value that regardless of income; everyone is treated with the same respect and provided with the same opportunities. The YMCA core values and all the memories made here will continue to shape the person I am for the rest of my life. I beat the statistics thanks to the YMCA. I am blessed.