Honouring Our YMCA Volunteers | YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka

Honouring Our YMCA Volunteers – Thank You!

June 22nd, 2017 by Rob Armstrong

In the true spirit of philanthropy, every year hundreds of individuals donate thousands of hours to the YMCA – allowing us to run our many programs and services in our communities across Simcoe/Muskoka. The Y simply could not provide what it does without the hundreds of volunteers who give selflessly to make it happen.

Over 600 individuals currently volunteer across Simcoe/Muskoka, and 80 percent do so by instructing or supporting physical fitness programs. People are often surprised to learn that Y volunteers are as highly trained in these areas as their staff counterparts. In order to support growth in mind, body, and spirit, the Y ensures that training is extended to volunteers so they may support others. Beyond fitness, volunteers from many other facets of the Y also donate their time in the areas of child care, camp, employment services, operations, child and youth programs, philanthropy and on our board of directors.

We want to say thank you in a big way!

On Sunday, June 4th all YMCA volunteers were invited to the inaugural Volunteer Appreciation Family day at YMCA Geneva Park. For the first time volunteers across the association were gathered together to meet one another, celebrate together and enjoy the day with their families. Above all, they were gathered to receive thanks for the spirit of compassion and giving that keeps the Y alive.

The Y is truly fortunate to have such a dedicated group of volunteers who represent the diversity in the community. Our volunteers come from all ages and stages of life including students looking to gain work experience and retirees who have volunteered for over 30 years.

Reinhart Weber – volunteering at the Y for over 50 years

One such YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka volunteer is Reinhart Weber, who recently received the YMCA Canada Fellowship of Honour medal from its Patron, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, in a ceremony held at the Museum of Nature in Ottawa, Canada on June 8th.

Reinhart has dedicated over 50 years of his life to expanding the reach of the YMCA in our community.

Over the years Reinhart has shared his personal success by giving back to his community as a generous donor, a thoughtful leader, and an inspiring visionary, including being an important part of helping to build the new Midland YMCA.

But perhaps Reinhart’s greatest contribution has been to the youth of his community. In the early 1990s, he began to focus his energy on the YMCA’s role in youth leadership development. He wanted to create a program for young people that would teach them about leadership in a structured but experiential way, also providing them with an opportunity to travel. He supplied the vision and the seed funding for the first Youth Leadership Development program for the YMCA of Midland. By 1997 the program had expanded to include four levels for youth aged 10 to 16 and had grown from an initial 14 to more than 100 participants. When the YMCAs in Simcoe County merged to become the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka, Reinhart seized the opportunity for growth, and the program soon provided opportunities for more than 250 youth from across the region. In 2011, those young leaders were given a seat at the table of the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka’s board of directors in the form of a youth advisory council, which was consulted on the Association’s new strategic plan.

We are very proud of and grateful to Reinhart Weber and all our YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka volunteers.  Their vision, passion, and dedication have made a significant contribution to the development of stronger and healthier communities across Simcoe/Muskoka. Without our volunteers, we couldn’t do the work that we do every day to help our communities thrive. We are truly grateful for their efforts.

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