The Greater Joliet Area YMCA’s summer volunteer program helps young adults gain meaningful work experience while providing extra care to our summer campers. We are proud to say that in 2019 the program’s size and impact grew significantly from the previous year.
The total number of volunteers this summer expanded from 35 to 69, and this hard-working group provided 325 more hours of service than in 2018. Volunteers not only helped in day-to-day summer camp activities, but also lent a hand in the Y’s summer pre-school and sports camps.
“The group of teens we had this summer were great. We had a number of returning volunteers who were able to show the new volunteers “the ropes” so it made it much easier for all to adjust and know just what to do to help,” Volunteer and Development Operations Manager Dori Fugate said.
Children who attend YMCA summer camps participate in a wide range of learning opportunities. Volunteers play a pivotal role in delivering these educational activities throughout the summer.
“This summer, our volunteers assisted counselors and instructors with many education projects, including STEM project facilitation and gardening education,” Fugate said. “Because of the hours that our volunteers put in, our counselors and instructors were able to spend more quality time with all of our campers.
Fugate noted that the Y is flexible to the needs and availability of volunteers and that the program’s overarching goal is to help young adults maintain a connection with the community.
“Volunteering is such a great way to have a positive influence on our youth and goes a long way for our volunteers when they get ready to embark on college and enter the workforce in the future,” Fugate said. “I hope that our teens gain a sense of purpose when they volunteer and know that they’re making a difference in the lives of others within our Y and within our community.”
Fugate said that she is hoping to see the program continue to grow and that the Y can build a long-term relationship with volunteers.
“We are providing a chance for our teens to build new skills, take on new challenges, make new friends and just have fun, all of which is key as we develop our future young leaders. We are hopeful that our volunteers return to us to volunteer for us in a greater capacity or join us some day as employees,” Fugate said.