Posted 07/04/2019 11:54:29 PM by Oliver Lam

This year's National Volunteer Week runs from April 7th to 13th. Our YMCA is fortunate to have lots of amazing volunteers who support our mission of fostering belonging and connection, helping children and families thrive and promoting healthy living. 

In the last year, more than 800 dedicated Y volunteers served more than 125,000 people and gave over 113,431 hours of their time and talents. Our Y certainly has a lot to be thankful for.

From teaching fitness classes to organizing family events to providing youth with valuable outdoor education experiences, our volunteers contribute in countless ways. Read on to get to know some of our fantastic volunteers and learn about the significant impact they are making in communities and in the lives of others.


Volunteer: Cort Wylie

Role and location: Fitness Desk and Core Blast class, Robert Lee YMCA
Time as a Y volunteer: Since 2011

Why we're grateful: Cort is one of our rock star volunteers here at RLY. He is helping with the fitness desk and teaches his Core Blast class. He has an unwavering positive attitude. He is dedicated, helpful and always brightens up the room with his smile.

From the team at Robert Lee YMCA: Thank you Cort for spreading your smile here at RLY! You are a blessing.




Volunteers: Bernardo (father) and Clyton (son) Fernandes
Role and location: Power Cycle instructors, Tong Louie Family YMCA
Time as a Y volunteer: Since 2007

Why we're grateful: Bernardo and Clyton started volunteering for the YMCA in 2007. They began as run leaders and then helped with the fitness course. The father and son duo then started teaching Cycle Fit and Bootcamp classes. Clyton ran his first half marathon when he was 16 years old. This is a picture of Bernardo and Clyton when they were run leaders and completed the full marathon together.

Volunteer: Marion Cruz
Role and location: Family Night Dinner, Bob and Kay Ackles YMCA Nanook House
Time as a Y volunteer: Since October 2018

Why we're grateful: Marion is a positive and caring volunteer. She is always willing to help with all the tasks, no matter if it’s connecting with families or helping with cleanup. Marion is very reliable and approachable and has a strong dedication towards her volunteer position. She is always on top of things and is known for taking initiative. Marion has been able to connect with families, which shows by parents and children seeking her out on our family night dinners.

From the YMCA Early Years team: We really appreciate Marion’s dedication to our families and every Wednesday we look forward seeing her positive presence and smile.


Volunteer: Bill Mercer
Role and location: Yoga, Langara Family YMCA
Time as a Y volunteer: Since 1980

Why we're grateful: Bill has been with YMCA since he was 14 in Toronto! He has grown up with the Y, and he and his late wife first volunteered at the Y back in late 1980s. Needless to say, Bill knows the living history of our Y. He and his wife were both responsible for piloting a few different fitness programs including a running club back in late 80s.

Currently, he teaches one of the most accessible and beneficial yoga classes Langara Family YMCA has to offer. Every Saturday, his yin class is full and, despite the tight space and limited equipment, he tries to accommodate everyone and squeeze everyone in for an hour of relaxation and moving meditation. 

However, his dedication and commitment is not the only amazing quality Bill has. He always has a smile on his face. He knows many of our members by name, and knows it when you don't show up, and actually asks about them. He teaches yoga to everyone and makes sure all are welcomed regardless of age and ability.  His favourite quote is: "Yoga is a work in not a work out". He teaches from his heart, and makes sure his students understand the benefits of the yoga asanas and how to use it in their daily life. 

After all these years, Bill still embodies the spirit of shared community, empathy and healthy living, which build the fabric of our Y.

From the team at The Langara Family YMCA: Thank you for your smile and for the front desk laugh every time you pass by. Thank you for all the years of dedication, commitment and relentless faith in our organization. Thank you for coming every week and being reliable when someone else needs coverage. And thank you for being an inspiration to everyone around you.


Volunteer: Billy Eldridge
Role and location: Outdoor Education Facilitator/Camp Counsellor, YMCA Camp Elphinstone
Time as a Y volunteer: Since February 2019

Why we're grateful: We are thrilled to be working with such a wonderful group of volunteers, like Billy, who are so energetic, child-focused and fun!

Billy was born in Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia and grew up in a town called Cowra. He has joined us through the Lattitude Global Volunteering program and is volunteering with us as an Outdoor Education Facilitator during our spring season and as a Camp Counsellor during the summer. Billy wants to pursue economics and business in post-secondary and is interested in a career in the Air Force. He wanted to volunteer in Canada as he had heard that Canada is an awesome place full of lovely people—we’ve been meeting those expectations so far! Billy has found it very rewarding working with children in our outdoor education and camp programs. He especially loves the outfit he is pictured in which was fully designed for him by his group of campers during our Spring Break Day Camp here at YMCA Camp Elphinstone


Volunteer: Sarah Briede
Role and location: Active Kids/Creative Kids, Chilliwack YMCA
Time as a Y volunteer: Since 2002

Why we're grateful: Sarah joined us as a member in the early 2000's and became a volunteer at our Membership Services desk a couple years later. Sarah has the remarkable gift of remembering not only all of our members' names, but also family members, as well as any special events in their lives

When members move away from Chilliwack, Sarah still keeps us all connected. You can now find Sarah's familiar, happy face in the Chilliwack Child/Youth Family Department, the front lobby of the Chilliwack YMCA and the social space greeting members. Sarah's welcoming smile, extremely cheerful disposition and ability to connect with all ages makes her a perfect volunteer for our YMCA. 

From the team at Chilliwack YMCA: We are so grateful to have Sarah as an ambassador of our Y. She is great at helping out with our youngest members, many of which are new to our Y or the program, as well as meeting and greeting all our members by name.


Volunteer: Kat Stiefvater
Role and location: Yoga, Robert Lee YMCA
Time as a Y volunteer: Since 2018

Why we're grateful: Kat is an amazing yoga instructor and a wonderful person with a huge heart. She fills the room with her smile and love. She makes everyone feel welcome and comfortable, and her classes are refreshing and renewing for the mind and body. Her amazing energy is contagious.

From the team at Robert Lee YMCA: Kat, you are a blessing. Never change a thing in who you are. We love you.



This is only a small sample of the amazing people who make up our family of YMCA volunteers. Be sure to follow along with us on social media (Facebook and Instagram) over the course of the week and beyond as we highlight more of the special people who give their time to the YMCA.

Interested in joining us as a volunteer? Check out the volunteer opportunities currently available at our YMCA. 
Oliver Lam

About Oliver Lam

Oliver is a Marketing and Communications Manager based out of Joyce YMCA. He loves watching sports documentaries, enjoys cooking and will take advantage of any and every opportunity to spend time at Granville Island with his family.

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