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From camper to volunteer for this future leader

14-year-old volunteers at the camp she once attended at BGC North Simcoe, which she points out feels like 'just one big family'

When Hailey Shervill first joined BGC North Simcoe, she was a camper.

Now, just a few years later, the 14-year-old has completed leadership training, and volunteers helping other kids stay safe, have fun and learn.

Formerly, the Boys and Girls Club of North Simcoe, BGC North Simcoe has provided after-school programs, summer camps and workshops that foster inclusive and informed environments for young people.

“I heard about it from my friend,” explains the student at Georgian Bay District Secondary School, “she had gone for years and she thought it would be a good experience for me.”

In 2019, Shervill attended summer camp with the BGC North Simcoe in Midland. She explains how each day was themed, like water day, and sports day. Campers crafted, enjoyed trips to Little Lake Park, the YMCA for swimming as well as the Elmvale Jungle Zoo and Rounds Ranch.

Shervill is a shining example of the impact BGC North Simcoe hopes to have on kids — she experienced new opportunities, in an encouraging environment, free from barriers, and built positive relationships that have led to her becoming a leader in her community.

The experience she had as a camper left such a positive impression on the young woman that she decided to pursue the leadership training offered through BGC of North Simcoe. Now, she volunteers her time as a camp leader in the summers.

“My dad has always helped me want to become more of a leader,” says Shervill, explaining that her father helped encourage her to take the leadership training.

The training teaches young people about mentorship, learning how to support others and take initiative.

“We talked about how to communicate with children; how to show and encourage kindness and understanding, because things can get mixed up super quickly,” says Shervill.

“If someone takes a toy, there’s a little bit of frustration there, so we learned how to help calm the situation down,” says Shervill about the leadership training.

As part of the training, young people also benefit from learning first aid — a truly invaluable skill.

This summer, Shervill put all of her skills to the test in Penetanguishene as a leader at camp.

“It was a great experience. The other leaders were very helpful. You were never standing there not doing anything,” she says.

Shervill says the first week was tough, and although she had babysat kids before, working with such a large group presented different challenges.

“There’s a very big range of personalities in kids,” says the teenager, betraying her years with her recent experiences.

“It’s a very exciting experience,” says Shervill, who recommends the BGC North Simcoe to other young people looking for a way to give back to their community.

Shervill had nothing but praise for the people that make all the work at BGC North Simcoe possible — programs manager Ashleigh Twitchin and operations director Heather Purchon.

“They are very supportive and help out a lot,” says Shervill, “and, they love kids! It’s honestly just one big family.”

If you’re looking for opportunities for your little people to learn new skills, join camp, or a workshop, see all that the BGC North Simcoe has to offer on their website.