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.
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