Ben Henwood: Crowfoot YMCA Adult Volunteer of the Year


Meet Ben Henwood, Crowfoot YMCA’s Adult Volunteer of the Year!


What is your volunteer role at YMCA?
Right now I am involved with the Hockey Program for 10-13 year olds and I run this program every Thursday night. Typically we meet at five and start with a couple warm up drills and then get right into playing hockey. My main responsibilities are just being there and making sure the game runs smoothly, ensuring everyone is safe and jumping in whenever I can to demonstrate the proper skills or just to take part in the game. Outside of the hockey program, I also volunteer my time with the YMAP program when they have their retreats at Camp Chief Hector YMCA.

What do you like about volunteering at YMCA?
I really enjoy the fact that volunteering allows me to get involved with my community and offers me the opportunity to meet and work with so many fantastic people. Also, the activities I am involved with are a great way to stay active and instill those values in others that take part in the programing.

Why did you choose to volunteer at YMCA over another organization?
I think that volunteering at the YMCA allows me to work with youth and in particular, with the roles I am in, with youth sports, which is a passion of mine. There are other organizations that I currently volunteer with but the YMCA affords me the greatest opportunity to work within the area of my passions and aligns nicely with my future goals.

How long have you been involved at YMCA?
I have been a volunteer and member of the YMCA for the better part of the past 2 years.

How did you feel when you found out you were Volunteer of the Year?
I felt honoured and proud that I was named as a Volunteer of the Year. I think it is great that the YMCA chooses to recognize their volunteers in this way and it makes me what to continue to contribute to the YMCA community through further volunteer experiences.

Why are you a volunteer?
I am a volunteer because I want to be able to give back to my community. I want to be able to be a positive role model for the students and members that I work with and I think the best way to do this is to give of yourself and to support those programs of the YMCA that are so crucial to community building.

Nancy Wang: Crowfoot YMCA Youth Volunteer of the Year


Meet Nancy Wang, Crowfoot YMCA’s Youth Volunteer of the Year!


What is your volunteer role at YMCA?
I teach the youth sports classes, mostly badminton, however
I have also taught indoor soccer and basketball.

What do you like about volunteering at YMCA?
I like volunteering at the YMCA because not only is the facility an awesome place but the staff and other volunteers there are also super friendly. I also love teaching my classes, since I work with the youth classes, I love seeing the kids improve week after week and knowing that I am the one who taught them how to do those things, it just makes me feel satisfied and happy.

Why did you choose to volunteer at YMCA over another organization?
I’ve been to YMCA summer camps since I was 9 years old and I always loved it. So I’ve always had this great image of the YMCA, so I decided to come back to volunteer and hopefully spread that great message to others.

Do you have a YMCA story?
My family and I came to Canada in 2008. Back then I didn’t know much English and I didn’t have any friends. So my first camp was the YMCA summer camp at Eau Claire YMCA. I remember I was scared the first day of camp because I didn’t know anyone, however the counsellors were super nice and they made me feel comfortable. By the end of the first day I didn’t even remember why I was scared, and I couldn’t wait for the next day of camp. This was my first experience in Canada and it made a huge impact on me, as they helped me to fit in with the rest of the kids. So now when I am volunteering I always try to help the kids to my best ability and pass on that kindness.

Why are you a volunteer?
I am a volunteer because I love giving back to my community and it’s not always about people knowing what you have done, its more about those random acts of kindness. As I said above, the YMCA has done a lot for me in the past and this is the least I can do for the organization.

What are your plans for the future? How has YMCA benefited you for school or your career?
I would like to become a teacher in the future, so the classes I teach right now are a great preparation for my future. I also plan to continue volunteering at the YMCA. YMCA has benefited me in so many ways, it has taught me to be more responsible, it has taught me to build that trust and relationship with the people you work with and it just simply brought joy to my life.

Grade 6 Year End Event


Calling all Grade 6 Members!!

Join us on June 12th from 5:00-8:00pm for a free year end celebration at YMCA Camp Riveredge! We will be offering free food, games, and activities for all of our grade 6 members to celebrate the end of their grade 6 year.

All are welcome to attend this fun, free event! Each branch will be offering transportation to and from Riveredge on the day of the event. We will be meeting at Eau Claire at 4:30 for the bus.

Registration is required; please be sure to fill out and return the Eau Claire Registration Form! If you are from another branch, forms will be posted to our Grade 6 Activity Page within the week.

Activities for our celebration will include:

  • Archery
  • Gaga Ball
  • Meet and Greet with Harvey the Hound
  • BBQ Dinner
  • Low Ropes Course
  • Challenge Course
  • Wide Games

Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Sarah Thornton at 403-781-1685. We hope to see you all there!


Kirsten Patton: Community YMCA Adult Volunteer of the Year


Meet Kirsten Patton, Community YMCA’s Adult Volunteer of the Year!


What is your volunteer role at YMCA?

Math Tutor with the All in for Youth initiative from United Way. A typical shift for me meant coming in and asking the lead tutor which grade needed assistance that day and sitting down to wrap my mind around what it was they were studying this week and helping them as best I could. Typically what was being learned varied from teacher to teacher as well as from school to school, so no two students were necessarily on the same lesson. It proved to be a good challenge for me.

How long have you been involved at YMCA?

I have been involved with the YMCA since the beginning of the math tutoring program in September 2013.

What do you like about volunteering at YMCA?

I love math, and I love making it understandable for others. I really liked working with the students and seeing their understanding improve. Since I don’t have kids of my own, it allowed me to return to what I think of as fun math. It had been years since I’d done much of it, but I was able to reach far back in my memory and remember not only how to do it, but how to explain it. It’s a great mental exercise for me.

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

My workplace was contacted and asked if there were interested volunteers for the program, and when I read the description, I jumped at the chance. The program was a great opportunity for me to give back to the community while still having fun.

How did you feel when you found out you were Volunteer of the Year?
I was very surprised to find out as I had no idea I’d been nominated, nor did I feel I’d done anything special. I feel very honoured to be recognized out of a group of great volunteers in the tutoring program. I’ve loved every minute of my volunteer time and working with the other volunteers.

Why are you a volunteer?

I volunteer because it allows me to share my knowledge and help others at the same time. When I was a student, I benefitted greatly from just a little extra help after school one day from a teacher who saw that I was frustrated. He took just a little extra time to explain things a different way and that little bit of help and encouragement cleared up what I was struggling with and set me on my way. I volunteer in hopes that I can pay that forward and hopefully help another student find their way. I thoroughly enjoy working with the students and the other tutors and feel that my spare time was put to good use helping others be successful.

Deborah Wong: Community YMCA Youth Volunteer of the Year


Meet Deborah Wong, Community YMCA’s Youth Volunteer of the Year!

What is your volunteer role at YMCA?

My volunteer role is to come up with ideas and plans for different events related to global initiative, and often times, I also need to do the physical work for the events hosted by the Global Initiatives Committee.

What do you like about volunteering at YMCA?

Volunteering at the YMCA makes me feel like I am contributing back to the community since YMCA helped me to understand the Canadian culture better through YMAP.

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

Since YMCA is the first organization that reached out to me through YMAP when I first came to Canada, I feel more comfortable to volunteer at the Y rather than volunteering at a completely new place. Also, in the two years that I spent at YMAP, I found that YMCA is a safe place where people with different cultural backgrounds can voice their opinions and getting accepted.

Do you have a YMCA story?

YMAP inspired me on the importance of giving back to the community through volunteering, and they also taught me why I should care about different issues happening within our society and globally. What YMCA did was life-changing, they opened my eyes to a new world, and encouraged me to pursue my new career goal in the future.

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

I was very surprised when I first found out that I was the Volunteer of the Year. I always think of volunteering as contributing back to our community, and I believe that volunteering is a duty for every citizen in the world. What I did was probably not huge to the YMCA, but when a group of people like me work together towards a common goal, I believe that will bring significant change in the society.

Why are you a volunteer?

Since I am an international student, I am not allowed to work anywhere outside of the campus. Fortunately, not being able to work gives me more personal free time, which I think that being a volunteer at the Y could really support what YMCA has been doing.

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

I am planning to do my degree in International Relations in the future. YMCA showed me that I could be so much more than just one person in the universe, and I could be an innovator that brings peace to different global issues at a local level. Being part of GI Committee taught me how to cooperate with people from different age groups and ethnic backgrounds, which would be critical to my future career since accepting diversity is a huge part in my future career.

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