Leaders of tomorrow meeting new, tough challenges 0
Members of the Boys and Girls Club of Pembroke’s pilot leadership camp (from left) Nate Meloche, Emily Watson and Alex Beaune were busy at the Salvation Army food bank sorting through donated canned goods and filling the shelves.
The Boys and Girls Club of Pembroke is running its first ever youth leadership camp.
Following feedback from local parents about a lack of activities for youth aged 11 to 15, the club decided to offer a week-long camp as a pilot project, according to club executive director Bonnie Schryer.
Offering this kind of programming is something the club has been considering for a number of years and finally felt the timing was right in light of the requests, she added.
Each morning the group discusses leadership and team building, and in the afternoon puts the skills to practical use by helping to run kids’ programs at the Boys and Girls Club of Pembroke summer camp being held in the Knights of Columbus Hall.
Early indications are that the program will be successful which could lead to an expanded leadership camp next summer, Ms. Schryer said.
“This is a good opportunity because the youth are being exposed to people and situations they may not otherwise encounter,” she added.
Among those taking part in the camp are Nicolas Rousseau, 12, who has attended the Boys and Girls Club for the past five years. Feeling he was too old to attend the club’s summer camp, he was looking for something more challenging.
So far he has found it to be an interesting experience and he is learning a lot of skills that he hopes to put to good use as a regular volunteer with the club.
“I’m having a lot of fun,” he said.
The camp has attracted about a dozen kids, who spent time recently at the Salvation Army volunteering in the soup kitchen. The youth served food to the clients and also helped to sort through cans and fill the shelves of the food bank, an area of the operation that has been suffering because it has been difficult to find volunteers, according to Josie Pynn, Salvation Army soup kitchen and volunteer co-ordinator.
She thinks it is a great opportunity to have the youth come into the soup kitchen to first of all realize there is a soup kitchen in Pembroke, and to gain valuable experience.
“When they get to high school they will have to complete their volunteer hours, so this gives the youth a glimpse of the kind of things they could do to get their hours,” she said. “It was great to have extra hands to help out, especially for clean-up.”
Currently the food bank is about 12 volunteers short for a full complement to stay on top of everything that needs to be done on a daily basis, so anyone interested in helping out, from youth or people with a few spare hours, are asked to call the Salvation Army at 613-735-5601.
Tina Peplinskie is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist