I’ve been involved with Boys and Girls Clubs for 6 years now. Two as a participant and this will be my fourth year volunteering. This Club has been a big part of my family and has given me and my siblings the opportunity to experience and participate in many amazing things we wouldn’t have had the chance to experience otherwise.
As a participant I was involved with Girl’s Night Out, a program that brings together young girls once a week. This was my first year at Ryerson and the year a very close family member passed away. I felt very alone while I was dealing with this. Girl’s Night Out forged friendships that have only grown stronger. I’ve grown up with these girls and grow to know more about them throughout the years.
During the summer of 2011, Boys and Girls Clubs gave me the opportunity to go to my first camp! I went to BB camp on Lake of the Woods and was extremely lucky to have been sent to Tim Hortons camp in Quebec the following summer. It was the first time I got to go on a plane and got to experience the things my friends who went on vacation got to. Like having your ears pop, using very tiny airplane bathrooms (which I refrained from after I saw them) and the joys of having your plane delayed. They were amazing experiences I happily shared with family and friends as soon as I got back.
Since I started volunteering, I’ve been involved with so much more. I’ve gotten to learn how to connect with different types of children and adults in many different situations. I participated in the 2015 National Youth Conference where I got to live at the University for a week and met amazing new friends and mentors from all around Canada that I’m still in touch with on a regular basis. I was a part of Leaders In Training at multiple different camps throughout the summer which gave me the opportunity to engage in many new activities and get to know many amazing children and young leaders throughout the short couple of weeks there.
Boys and Girls Clubs has always been supportive of my aspirations to go to University to study psychology and law, and has given me the resources I need in order to reach my goals. I’ve always felt safe and free to discuss my opinions with at least one person in the Club regularly and deeply appreciate how caring everyone is towards the needs of others, whether that be the needs of a child, teen or parent. Boys and Girls Clubs has truly shaped me into the person I am today by not holding my hand and leading me through everything, but by providing me with the resources I need to make something of myself, for myself. They provide me with a place to go when I don’t feel comfortable engaging in certain activities with my peers, while giving me to opportunity to do what I love which is working with children.
Throughout the last couple years volunteering I have seen the kids I helped and worked with go from Elementary to Junior High; I’ve had strong conversations with some brilliant young minds, and have had people open up to me in a way I’ve never experienced. I’ve watched the kids grow and develop right in front of my eyes and watched them form into the people they’re growing up to be. Thank you to everyone who has made the Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg possible for my family and thousands of others.