John Pearce: Camp Chief Hector YMCA Adult Volunteer of the Year


Meet John Pearce, Camp Chief Hector YMCA’s Adult Volunteer of the Year!


What is your volunteer role at YMCA?

Driving campers long distances so the campers can have fun.

How long have you been a volunteer at the Y?

10 years.

How long have you been involved at YMCA and in what capacity?

I first went to Camp Chief Hector in 1963. I remember going to the Central YMCA in London Ontario on Saturday mornings when I was 7 for the morning swim when the boys swam naked. That was a ton of fun.

What do you like about volunteering at YMCA?

It keeps me involved with the camp that my family has been going to since it opened in the 1920s.

Why did you choose to volunteer at YMCA over another organization?

Never thought about it. I am a Hector Brave after all.

Do you have a YMCA story?

When I was a Chiniki (they are now called Kananaskin), I was 10 years old and was going to camp for the first time, I brought a used army helmet liner as my headgear. I was always in heaven when I got to go to Crown Surplus in Calgary to root through all the used military equipment and I had purchased a Vietnam era U.S. Army helmet liner.

This was the perfect hat for camp, it shed rain, protected you from the sun and was light weight and had a chin strap for windy weather. The counsellors all liked my helmet and were surprised at how light it was. I wore the thing everywhere, even to chapel but they made me take it off for the service. I wore the helmet back for my second year and the counsellors were concerned that the helmet would be too heavy for our 3 day hike to the ice caves, so they asked me to wear something else. I gave my counsellor or section director the helmet and they were surprised at how light the liner was. They had thought it was the steel pot part.

When I came back as a camper for my third year the official hat of all the pit counsellors was a silver helmet liner. I never got credit for being the inspiration, but I know I was. As a youngster I thought it was cool that the Pioneers had adopted my idea and the silver paint to match the silver bridge was great.

Why are you a volunteer?

I need something to do in the summer. Why not? If you’re going to get old, you might as well do something that helps out the community and brings you pleasure.

Émilie Tremblay: Camp Chief Hector YMCA Youth Volunteer of the Year



Meet Émilie Tremblay, Camp Chief Hector YMCA’s Youth Volunteer of the Year!


What is your volunteer role at YMCA? 

I am a camp counselor. It certainly is challenging: I wake up in the tipi at around 7:45AM, make sure the campers are ready for the day with all their necessary equipment, manage mealtimes and activities during the day, and maintain steady group dynamic throughout the session with games and group activities.

What do you like about volunteering at YMCA?

I love seeing kids make connections and friendships at camp,and challenge themselves to try new things. As a former camper, I am enthusiastic about making their camp experience as life-changing as it was for me.

I also adore working in the outdoors. Every morning, when my group and I walk down to breakfast, and Yamnuska Ridge is on one side, Lookout Mountain is on the other, the sun is rising over Hector Field, sometimes fog rolls over the mountains like a blanket. The fresh air, the forest, the connectivity of it to the body, spirit and mind – it sounds like a lot of hippie nonsense, but one really has to live there to experience it.

Why did you choose to volunteer at YMCA over another organization?

As a camper, I fell in love with camp life, and as I got older at camp, there were more opportunities to become a better leader, particularly in Leadership 1, where we had opportunities to play “mini counselors” during the days of our three-week long out-trip. I would often say, “I’m never really going to leave camp. I’ll just eventually live on top of Lookout forever.”

How did you feel when you found out you were Volunteer of the Year?

I was so proud! Working at camp is one of my favourite things and I work my hardest at being a good leader, team mate, and volunteer. To be recognized for it is really amazing. I am so grateful for it.

Why are you a volunteer?

Because I love what I do, and though it is a really difficult job, it is so rewarding! Seeing kids grow and learn, learning with them, spending summers in nature is where I love to be. Coming home knowing I’ve done something to improve my and maybe others’ perspectives on the world is what I love about my summers at Camp Chief Hector. Which is part of how I want to change the world one small step at a time.

What are your plans for the future? How has YMCA benefited you for school or your career?

Camp has allowed me to expand on my leadership and authority skills. My dream for the future is to direct animated films and learning leadership skills, while connecting to the environment for inspiration will really help me not only achieve career goals, but also balance in my daily life.

Working, volunteering, and attending Camp Chief Hector YMCA has given me the tools to create my own moral code and standard of living. I am stronger physically, growing emotionally, and improving spiritually with every year I spend at camp. I highly recommend that kids come to play, and adults come to work there. It truly is life changing.


2014 Volunteer of the Year Award Recipients

We’re so thankful for our amazing volunteers!

2014 Volunteer of the Year Winners

Get to know this year’s Volunteer of the Year Award Winners:


Camp Chief Hector YMCA – Adult Volunteer of the Year – John Pearce

John adds to the camp community a wonderful mix of youthful energy, mature perspective and unique communication.

John is a breath of fresh air, a candid and spontaneous leader who comes from a deep background of youth leadership and professional education.


Camp Chief Hector YMCA – Youth Volunteer of the Year – Emilie Tremblay

Émilie is a kind, caring and outgoing individual who impacted the camp community through her actions.

Émilie went out of her way to contribute to the camp community through her warmth and friendly nature.

These attributes were also present in her dealings with her campers, further contributing to the inclusiveness of the camp community overall.


Community YMCA – Adult Volunteer of the Year – Kirsten Patton

Kirsten is always happy with a great positive attitude, which always rubs off on not only students but also onto other volunteers.

There would be a noticeable ambiance in the room when she is present, students are full of energy and the room is full of energy, which creates a very enthusiastic environment for all.


Community YMCA – Youth Volunteer of the Year – Deborah Wong

Deborah was such a strong asset to the Global Initiatives (GI) team. She was very passionate about engaging youth and the general community in issues related to justice, the environment, and global concerns.

For Earth Week 2014, Deborah brought forward the idea that we could hold a YMCA Earth Week Food Drive to draw attention to both food waste and food need in the city.

Deborah is an amazing volunteer, and much of the world of the GI committee was because of her hard work and innovative ideas!  She always brings 100% of herself to each meeting and is able to contribute many ideas each time.


Crowfoot YMCA – Adult Volunteer of the Year – Ben Henwood

Ben is a natural-born leader who continues to exceed our expectations in the Youth Department. Not only has he stepped up and taken the lead in multiple Youth programs, but he has grown into a positive role model for the youth who he instructs.

We are proud of what Ben has accomplished, and know that he will continue to excel with whatever he chooses to pursue.


Crowfoot YMCA – Youth Volunteer of the Year – Nancy Wang

Nancy is always conscious of how other people are feeling. She goes out of her way to talk to everyone and ensures that they are feeling comfortable and happy.

Nancy may be young, but she has already grown into a strong leader. Youth look up to Nancy and enjoy being around her.


Eau Claire YMCA – Adult Volunteer of the Year – Carli Tyson

Carli is warm, friendly and encouraging to all the masters club participants. She sets an excellent example of health herself while still putting the success of the swimmers first.

Carli is a dedicated & hard working volunteer who cares a lot about her role as the masters club coach at the YMCA.

She is willing to go above & beyond for the participants to ensure they get the most out of their swimming program. Carli certainly deserves recognition for her hard work.


Eau Claire YMCA – Youth Volunteer of the Year – Stephen Fanstone

Stephen goes above and beyond what is expected of him as a program volunteer. He can often be found in the gym after program hours interacting with youth, playing basketball, instructing a session of Gaga Ball, or teaching a young member how to properly hold a hockey stick.

Stephen has become an exemplary volunteer and instructor through his time with us and has become a leader and role model for all volunteers and staff alike.


Saddletowne YMCA – Adult Volunteer of the Year – Bella Noel

Bella leads by example and is often here with her family and friends using the facility.
Bella is the first to volunteer at any community event we have and is always willing to take on any role we give her.

She is also great at mentoring new volunteers at the desk. Her ability to build relationships is amazing and she truly brightens people’s day as she always has a smile and laugh for everyone.

She makes everyone feel welcome and like they are a part of our Saddletowne community.


Saddletowne YMCA – Youth Volunteer of the Year – John Magat

John is very active within the YMCA, he is a big believer in giving back to the community and the physical health of youth. He always makes sure that they are safe and treats them with a lot of respect.

John engages with the participants through his many contributions to the Y, he volunteers to help out constantly. He is always willing to help in building a safe and healthy community.

John has been a mentor to a lot of the youth with his many talents in different types of sports. he is always willing to teach and help them reach their potential.


Shawnessy YMCA –  Adult Volunteer of the Year – Cathy Mallany

Cathy captures all the essentials of being an ambassador of health for both the children and adults here at the Shawnessy YMCA.

She volunteers for both the Preschool and Member Services Departments and is loved by members, staff and co-volunteers. Cathy nourishes children with her guidance and care to ensure that all kids have a fun experience at the YMCA.

Her presence makes staff, volunteers and parents blissful knowing that the children are in good hands.


Shawnessy YMCA –  Youth Volunteer of the Year – Georgina Waldron

With Georgina’s continued commitment to the YMCA she is always willing to lend a helping hand when she’s not at school.

She loves working with the children in the Cookie Monsters classes and teaching them about healthy eating. When her class was cancelled she helped us out on the weekend by cleaning up the equipment in the gym.

Georgina always helps to keep the YMCA a cleaner, happier place to come to.


South Health Campus YMCA –  Adult Volunteer of the Year – Bryan Hickey

Bryan’s classes foster a sense of community between the participants. His personable nature is conductive in ensuring everyone feels welcome and the class atmosphere is non-judgmental.

There is a mutual respect and accountability amongst all ensuring a safe environment and one that promotes learning and development.

It is from this positive experience, that further growth is developed outside of the class and into the community.


South Health Campus YMCA –  Youth Volunteer of the Year – Christine Maysombol

Christine helped launch the Calgary Flames Grade 6 YMCA membership program here at South Health Campus. She helped parents and children and community members understand the importance of the program and the benefits to students.

She has also uses her experience at the YMCA to help other non-profit organizations like Youth Central.

Christine is always cheerful and positive, she is especially great with younger children and is a great role model to them.


Congratulations to all our Volunteer of the Year Recipients, and thank you for all that you do.

Music in the Mountains – June 5 – get your tickets now

Did you know that 1 in 5 kids at YMCA Calgary are supported through the Strong Kids Campaign?

Join us on Friday June 5 at the Ironwood Stage & Grill for an evening of music and friendship and help us raise funds to send kids to Camp. Proceeds from ticket sales, silent auction and 50/50 draw go to Camp Chief Hector YMCA’s Strong Kids Campaign.

Check out our ALUMNI WEBSITE for information about Silent Auction Items, Performers and more!

This event sells out every year! Get your tickets now. | 22 tickets remaining (as of Jun 1)

Tickets: online (use barcode 102527) or by phone at 403-269-6156 or 1-866-430-9622

evite MiM 2015


Healthy Eating: Practical Tips, Tricks & Answers to Your Questions

On Wednesday, May 13 from 6-8pm Saddletowne YMCA will host a workshop called Fundamentals of Healthy Eating.

This workshop will offer very practical information with ideas, strategies and recipes that you can take home and put to use right away. Our presenter Cheryl Strachan, a registered dietitian, offers a very down to earth perspective that covers not only the ‘what & why’ but the ‘how’ of creating healthy eating habits with plenty of examples along the way and answers to all of the commonly asked questions & concerns.

Click this link to sneak-a-peak:

Register early by calling 403-237-2393 and quoting course# 102733.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 | 6-8pm
Saddletowne YMCA, Studio A
Members/Staff/Volunteers: $10
NonMembers: $15
Course#: 102733


“May the Fourth” Be With You!


A long time ago, in a gym far, far away…



Episode I

It is a period of training on their own.
Many youth, trying hard
to gain sport skills, play in the gym
getting ready to do battle
against a worthy opponent.

During the battle, the opponents
have managed to outplay
the youth and seem to have
an ultimate weapon, STRUCTURED
TRAINING, a valuable
addition giving them the power
to defeat many foes.

Persuaded by the desire to
do their best, the youth
look to the Saddletowne
YMCA to better their skills,
within the sports of soccer
and basketball, and restore
balance in the gym….


We have an exciting new opportunity coming to the Saddletowne YMCA!

This summer at the YMCA we are offering Sport Development Camps in basketball and soccer for youth between the ages of 10-15 years!  Camps run Monday to Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm.

Get an introduction to disciplined training, by building, developing and refining sport-specific skills with the help of a coach.  This week-long sport development camp focusses on personal and group growth, and applies learning in a variety of fun and exciting environments.  Through fitness activities, skill development, cross-training and games, campers will build their expertise.  Fair play is important when developing a love of the game!

Read more information on our YMCA Sport Development Camps in the 2015 Spring/Summer Day Camp Guide.  Pick your week, and choose your sport.  We are offing both basketball and soccer options throughout the month of July.

The registration deadline is fast approaching.

Call 403-237-2393 or register online today!

Let us further develop a love of the game.

The Crux of Your Workout Routine

I am a rock climber.  I guess that kind of makes sense as I look after the Wall Climbing Programs at the Saddletowne YMCA.  But that is away from my point…

UntitledWhen rock climbing, there comes a point in the climb that is especially difficult.  This is either physically or mentally difficult, and takes the most amount of effort to overcome.  There are times when it feels impossible to make it beyond that point, but all that is usually needed is a step back and change of pace.  This difficult point in rock climbing is known as the “crux”.

Working out, staying fit and wellness routines have this crux in them as well.  It may be known by another name: the rut, the plateau, the stall, the trough…just to name a few.  There comes a time when a change is needed.  We challenge you to spring-clean your time here at the YMCA and try something new!

Throughout the month of May, pick up a passport from member services and do some travelling.  Explore everything that we have to offer and add some excitement.  Get a grip, get your feet off the ground, get your feet wet, get in the game, get your groove on…get over that crux!  Once you complete your passport, return it to member services for 2 guest passes and a ballot for a draw for a 1 month buddy pass.  The program board will be passport central, with information on all of our exciting changes of pace.

From someone who climbs, there are many ways to stay fit on the climbing wall, challenging both your body and your mind.  Be it climbing to the top, or just staying down nice and low, I always can get a workout in.  The best part is that it doesn’t feel like one, but the next day, I can feel it in my arms, legs and core muscles.  When I am stuck at a crux, I go for a climb and can then literally reach new heights!

The challenge is on, talk to member services and get started on overcoming your crux today!

YMAP goes to Camp Chief Hector YMCA

Written by Jillian Harbour, YMAP Director, Community YMCA.

The YMCA Achievement Program (YMAP) had their annual trip to Camp Chief Hector YMCA. This year we traveled out to Kananaskis Country with an unprecedented 131 participants, 7 volunteers and 5 staff for a weekend filled with games, lots of laughs, new challenges and amazing people (and no snow!).

Between the always helpful Camp Chief Hector YMCA staff and the strong leadership Matt and Alisha provided the rest of the team, the weekend was a great success. My favourite moments of the weekend were the ever popular open mic night (I am always blown away by the amazing talents YMAP participants keep secret until camp!) and all the teamwork/encouragement I saw between the youth as they faced new and exciting challenges together.

This is often the first experience of its kind for the participants. These youth are new to Canada and seeing and experiencing the mountains and the Canadian outdoors for the first time.

YMAP CCH 2015 (2)

Getting Crafty!

Helping on the High Rope


Eau Claire Youth Badminton Tournament

PosterPicCalling all grade sixes!!

Are you between the ages of 10 and 13? Come register for our Badminton Tournament! All skill levels are welcome to attend. This is a singles tournament, so there is not need to register with a team. We will be meeting in the Eau Claire gymnasium from 6:00-8:00pm on Friday May 29th.

You do not need to be in grade 6 to participate. Simply fill out the Registration Form and return it to the Eau Claire branch by no later than Thursday May 28th.

If you have any questions, please e-mail Sarah Thornton, Eau Claire youth coordinator at

Healthy Kids Day

YMCA Healthy Kids Day is a free annual community event hosted by YMCAs across Canada in June. An action-packed event for the entire family, YMCA Healthy Kids Day places special emphasis on how healthy living can be fun and providing families with simple tips and resources to live healthy every day.

The YMCA believes healthy kids are the foundation and future of healthy communities. That’s why we offer programming and advocate year round for the healthy growth of children and youth in spirit, mind and body.

YHKD_Mini Poster_English_Customized_v1

Raising healthy children is a community effort, and the YMCA is your community partner in nurturing he potential of kids.

Join us on Sunday, June 7 for an engaging day of fun and exciting activities!

More details to come.