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HORIZONS VOlunteer Challenge 2008 - Central

Alycia Edison

1. Location - My local swimming pool.

2. Activity - I helped teach children under the age of 12 how to swim.

3. Description

Starting at the end of June, I attended the beginner swim team practice at my local swimming pool to help children under the age of 12 learn how to swim. I am heavily involved in the swim team myself; therefore, this type of volunteer work was of great interest to me. Everyday from Monday to Friday, I would be assigned a couple of little swimmers to work with. I would then take them through a warm-up and a lesson about how to do their strokes properly. Towards the end of the hour, I would play a small game with the children and then say good-bye for the day. I continued doing this for the duration of the summer. To see how the children gradually improved with their swimming was very rewarding to me, and I plan to apply for the position of assistant coach of the swim team in the summer of 2008.

4. How is this activity valuable to its community and our society?

Most people believe that learning how to swim at a young age is very important. Therefore, they enter their children in programs such as the swim team. With just one head coach and two assistant coaches, it gets very difficult to pay close attention to each individual child. When volunteers step in and help with the work, the job becomes much easier and the children get much more out of their experience.

5. What skills were helpful in your work? Did you refine existing skills or develop new ones? How might you apply these newly discovered skills in other situations?

Communication skills played a huge part in my volunteer work. I refined my existing communication skills and also had the chance to develop new ones. I could apply my communication skills in most other situations I would be involved in.

6. What are your long-term goals? How does this experience connect to your long-term goals?

One of my main long-term goals is to become a dentist. To accomplish this goal, I am going to need a lot of experience with helping people and communicating with people in general. This experience will definitely play a small part in helping me reach this goal. Another shorter-term goal I have is to become the assistant or head coach of the swim team for a summer job. My experience of volunteering with the swim team will give me an advantage and help me reach these goals.

7. Describe what you consider to be an “ideal citizen” of your community. What qualities do they possess? What values do they hold? Are they involved in the community?

An "ideal citizen" of my community is someone who would bend over backwards to help anyone they could. They are very kind, and willing to step in and help out with any situation when they are needed to keep the community running smoothly. They value the sense of family in our community. They also value each and every individual in our community equally. They are involved in as many things as possible around the community.

This is a picture of my swim team warming up at the provincial meet. I tought a lot of the children in the first lane of this picture during the summer.

Stephen Hatt

Location: Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Grand Falls-Windsor.

Activity: Altar serving in church.

Description: Ever since I was young I have been an Altar server in my church. I was considering giving it up, but decided to stay with it for my project. I then had to continue to fulfill my duties as an Altar Server by going to mass and helping our Priest preform ceremonies. Whether it be doing regular weekly sessions, or specially scheduled masses ,which I had to learn new skills for, I was dedicated to our church. This led to a smooth running experience, and enjoyable masses for everyone.

1. How is this group/activity valuable to its community and our society?

Many people of all ages go to mass on a regular basis. If there were not sufficient numbers of altar servers mass would be tiresome and dreary for all but the devoted attendant. With the addition of servers, mass is much more enjoyable for everyone, as it is more systematic. As well, at times when there were no altar servers, local parishioners would fill the duty. Although they agree to do so, they do not enjoy having to do what should be a younger persons’ job.

2. What skills were helpful in your work? Did you refine existing skills or develop new ones? How might you apply these newly discovered skills in other situations?

The skills that were very important in these situations were people skills. To be able to work with one another was very important. I had to be able to take orders so I would complete what I was supposed to do without any mistakes. Although I already could take orders, it helped me refine this skill and will help me in any job I wish to do in the future.

3. What are your long-term goals? How does this experience connect to your long-term goals?

My long-term goal is to become a athletic therapist. Although these two things are not directly related, the development of skills to work with others will help me achieve my goal. Things like listening to others when I should, or being punctual and dedicated to something will never hurt my chances of completing my goal.

4. Describe what you consider to be an “ideal citizen” of your community. What qualities do they possess? What values do they hold? Are they involved in the community?

An ideal citizen is someone who will help others without their own benefit as their first priority. They want others to have an pleasurable time ,and seeing them having it is all the thanks they need. They find out what they can do for others, and then do it, because they can.

Christopher Kennedy

I, Christopher Kennedy, am currently a member of the Advocate Youth Services Cooperative (AYSC), a volunteer organization in which I have been involved since 2006. This group started in 2004 as the “Baie Verte Youth Group” as a result of the youth in our community wanting to find a place to hang out. Overtime this group evolved into a registered cooperative in 2007, now locally known as the “AYSC” Group.

AYSC is a non profit organization whose monies raised must be returned back to the community. It provides activities for the people of the community such as organized teen dances, socials, senior socials, as well as providing a place for teens to hang out and have fun.

AYSC has been actively involved each year in our community with the “Dog Guides of Canada” and the “Relay for Life” events and has been very successful in raising a considerable amount of money for those events. We also arranged car washes in conjunction with the Scotiabank where the amount we raised was match by Scotiabank. Our community event “Spree by the Sea” was also a very successful fundraising event from a booth that we sponsored.

AYSC has taken part in an Atlantic Cooperative Youth Leadership Conference. So far we have sponsored 4 members to travel to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island to attend this event. One thing that I am very interested in attending is the upcoming Youth Conference to be held in Nova Scotia in May, 2008. I believe events like these give us an opportunity to meet other youth who have the same concerns for their communities.

We have also been actively involved with infrastructure being built in our community. In 2006, a gazebo was constructed for the teens so they would have a place to hang out. With the help of the Baie Verte Kinsmen Club, we also had a new updated playground constructed to replace the deplorable one that was unsafe for kids. Currently we are working on a business plan to get in place a “Frenchies” Franchise that will assist families with affordable clothing. The profits from this store will be used for further improvements and new projects within our community.

Through my involvement in this organization, will bring skills I have gained good leadership, teamwork, and interpersonal skills. Volunteering has played such a big part in my interactions with the people in my community and I feel good about giving back. An ideal citizen of this community would be someone who takes time out of their life to help volunteer. I guess that makes me an ideal citizen.

Sara Oxford

Volunteering in my community has always been fun and challenging. It has also been interesting and helpful in many ways. The volunteer work I am currently doing is peer tutoring and volunteering as a Girl Guide leader. Since being a leader involves associating with more people and doing a variety of activities, I get to observe why volunteering is valuable not only to me, but to everyone else that is involved in this program, and our community.

The Girl Guide program takes place in St. Albans, at Holy Cross Community School. This time usually consists of one hour every Monday evening. There, the girls are put into “patrols” of four, where the oldest is the leader of each group. The leader collects the dues and starts their march. The march is the opening to our evening, and they do this every class. The Guides also learn concepts of everyday life while still doing their guide work and earning badges. For example, recently our guide unit was discussing the disadvantages of smoking. They did activities and projects, such as plays, about this topic, and a few classes later we found that they had a lot more knowledge about this issue. However, we are not the only unit in this program. The guiding unit consists of six divisions, these including Sparks, Brownies, Guides, and Pathfinders, Rangers or Junior Leaders. I am a volunteer for the guide level, which has been a very good experience so far. When we gather, the guides have many new ideas and activities to do. For instance, it was just recently that the girls had their enrollment ceremony. This allows the oldest girls in the group to move on to the next level. So far this year, our guide unit has been very valuable to the girls and their community.

This unit does several activities throughout the year that involves working in the community and contributing to our world. We, as a unit, plan and organize certain activities that we feel values our community. For instance, over Christmas break all the guides, including the Sparks, Brownies, Pathfinders and leaders, prepared Christmas songs and guitar music so that we could go to the senior citizen home and entertain them. We also decided to take part in our community Christmas parade and that was fun. Our unit and members of the community all helped out to organize this parade. We are valuable to the community not only because we take part in and learn new things; we contribute to the community and try to help out when ever we can. Also, we take our time to try and raise awareness in our community about certain issues such as lung cancer and the Red Cross. Every year the guide units go around door to door canvassing for organizations such as the lung cancer association. I feel that our group is needed in our community and society because we try our best to participate in as many community activities as we can. We all work together to make our home community a little better, and in doing so develop new skills that help us as well. Therefore, we use our time and our talents wisely.

Skills that are helpful while being involved in the guide unit include leadership, communication, and social skills. I feel that leadership is a main skill in this type of activity because it is all about learning new perceptions about life and the environment, and by being a volunteer leader, it is my responsibility to help create new ways in which the guides can learn these ideas. Also, I try to help the guides out as best I can when we are involved in any activity. I try to lead them into making the right decisions. For example, when we showed the guides the effects of smoking, the hope is they will learn never to smoke, and ways to say no in general.

While helping these children and participating in this unit I also needed to have good communication skills. For instance, when assisting others with their work and helping them with activities or life concepts I had to be able to communicate with them, to be able to understand their ideas and their opinions on things. It is vital to be able to make them feel that they can trust and that guide leaders can connect with them. Being a teenager who has been involved in class and school leadership activities I felt able to connect with the girls easily. Communication is a strong component of any good community leader, whether the communication is direct or indirect.

Another skill that can be helpful when being involved in this type of service is the ability to socialize in an appropriate manner. Social skills can be very helpful in the guide unit because being able to get along with everyone is extremely important. Can you imagine Girl Guide meetings where leaders and guides didn’t get along well? I cannot see many younger children wanting to remain a girl guide in that situation. The groups would falter and that would be sad. Our Guide unit is all about friendship and teamwork, and having social skills increases the chances of getting along with others and showing our youth the value of teamwork and helping their peers. Social skills are definitely needed for friendship and loyalty to people and an organization. This skill is highlighted throughout my experience in the guide unit because I am always there for the girls and we all work together as a team. These are the skills that I feel that have helped me throughout this experience. Possessing leadership abilities and being able to communicate and socialize grew throughout my guiding experience. I realize I got as much from my volunteer time as I gave to help my community.

I feel that I have refined existing skills. The community service that I have done in my past has also allowed me to use these skills, for example, when I volunteered at the convent helping the children with their religion program. Being involved in this group has refined my skills and has also helped developed new skills and character traits, including patience and compassion. This group has helped me understand what it means to be compassionate. Also, being around a larger group has made me more patient and more open-minded. These newly refined skills can be used in other situations, such as school activities, with school presentations and even speak outs, I had to be communicative, be social, and also be a leader. When I was running for the student council I had to prepare a speech for the Election Day, and in my presentation I had to reach the audience and show them that I was social and that I could lead. Skills that I was fortunate enough to have refined have been used in other areas too. Buddy tutoring, tutoring a student some evenings each week, and my offer to become a tutor in the tutoring for tuition program, have perhaps come because of important skills that have been refined through my volunteering. They will surely be helpful in my future education and career and as a community member.

The volunteer work that I am doing greatly affects my future plans and long term goals by encouraging me to be helpful and outgoing. Every time I envision my future I see myself in some helping capacity. While I can’t seem to make a firm decision yet, nursing is an area of great interest. I have always wanted to help others and since nursing allows me to reach this goal I am highly interested in learning more about the profession. Still, when I think of my future career I also like the idea of being a psychiatrist or counselor or social worker even. While it is difficult to say what my goals will be for my future, I know that my volunteer work and skills will benefit me throughout my life. Whether I become a nurse or psychiatrist -can’t say for sure yet- I know that the volunteer work I have done has only prepared me for my future and has brought me great confidence.

I consider an Ideal Citizen of a community to be a person who takes great interest in their small community and is proud to help out because they want to, and not because they have to. An ideal citizen most likely enjoys the community life, and would want to build their home community to be a strong and comfortable place for everyone. Therefore, this person would love contributing to their world, and be willing to give up their time to help others. An ideal citizen of a community may hold many values for showing such care for the community. For instance, volunteer work grounds me as a person. I realize every person is important to our small community and our world community. I believe that all people who volunteer come to this realization that in order to make the world better we all have to do our part.

Leann Paul

Location: Harry Ivany Arena, Botwood, NL

Activity: Helping Out the Under 12 Girls Hockey Team on the Ice

On Monday nights, I sometimes volunteer my time on the ice with the Botwood and Area Under 12 Female hockey team. However, this is not considered volunteer "work" to me, because hockey is my passion, whether I'm playing, watching or helping other people learn about it.

The girls on the 2007-2008 Botwood and Area Under 12 Female hockey team are the first girls to play on a Botwood Under 12 girls team. For many years there has been a struggle in coming up with a valid Under 20 Female hockey team in Botwood, and many seasons we barely gathered up enough girls to have a team. Now that we have an Under 12 girls team, we have more reassurance in having enough players for a team each season, because there will be some girls moving up into the Under 20 girls group every year. Since the Under 12 girls team is helping keep our Under 20 girls team alive, I want to do as much as I can to help them develop their hockey skills. The Under 12 girls team is important in Botwood and surrounding areas, because it gives girls the option of playing with a group of girls rather than being surrounded by the opposite sex on a boys team. When girls play on boys team, they often get treated differently than they would on a girls team, especially in terms of the amount of ice time they receive, so an Under 12 girls team is very beneficial to all girls. Also, many young girls would not start playing hockey if they had to start playing with a group of rough boys.

In doing this volunteer work, I have used some of my skills to help me out. My six years of playing hockey allows for me to teach young girls the basics of key techniques and elements, such as different types of shots, how to skate properly, puck handling, and passing, to name a few. Also, my ability to relate to younger children from some of my previous experiences helped me in my work. I'm developing an ability to instruct children and help them feel good about what they accomplished. This ability could help me in helping out with summer activities and sports for kids, for example, or I can use this skill in my job of tutoring children.

This volunteer experience has inspired me to have a long-term goal of being head coach of an Under 20 girls team some day. I want to be involved in female hockey, or hockey in general, for my whole life. I also have a long-term goal of becoming some form of doctor, and I will have to deal with children in this profession, so this volunteer work prepares me in a way for my future.

An "ideal citizen" in a community has many valuable character traits and abilities. Firstly, an "ideal citizen" would be very involved in his or her town, in terms of attending and organizing community events. Also, this person would be a fun, uplifting, dependable person who gets along well with everyone. They are friendly to the environment as well, in and outside the community. In addition, they promote their hometown for its positive aspects and work to improve it in any way they can.

Candice Squires

In the past months I have voulnteered for a few things. Which all took place in my community, including, Working at the canteen at bingo, cleaning the Salvation Army Church, and I also helped sort letters for the liberal mp in my area ( Winston Carter).

At the moment the only voulnteer work I do reguarly is cleaning the church, I do this every 3 weeks. The church is located in my community, Carmanville. This church is valuble to the community and the society because, its a place where you can go be yourslef, and not be judged because of, race, colour, religion, and so on. The people who I know that go to this church say, It's A wonderful place to be, and they wouldn't stop going here for the world. They also say that even though it's not has big as some churches and not has many people go here, it's still a church and it is beautiful.

To voulnteer at the church you didn't really need any skills has such, you just needed to understand why you were cleaning it, which was not just to get voulnteer hours to pass a course at school. It is to give back to your community by helping clean a very important place in it. All you really need to know was how to mop, sweep, vacum, dust and clean toilets.

I didn't really learn any new skills while cleaning the church, but I did learn that you should take pride in things that you do, and that you just don't do them to pass a course, people who go the church really apperciate what we are doing for them. This also kind of taught me to help others because, most of the people who go to this chruch are of the older generation and they find it hard to go out and clean it themselves, so with people helping them do this job it makes it a lot easier for them. It helps me to learn that you should take pride with what you have and take pride in your surrondings.

My long term goals are to finish high school, by working hard and obtaining the highest marks that I can. After highschool I am planning on going to Memorial University, and taking a course to become a dental hygentist. The things I have voulnteered at don't really has such connect to my long term goals, other then they helped me to get out in the community and meet new people, and get to know poeple I already knew better. So now when I go away to University, and move out on my own I will not be shy around people I don't know, and I will know how to keep my house clean :) .

What I consider to be an ideal citizen would be, someone who is trusting, caring, and who has good moral and family values. Who takes pride in their town and becomes involved in different things. An example of a "Ideal Citizen" In my community I would think would be, Sam Winsor. Mr. Sam Winsor, is an "Ideal Citizen" because, he is a retired english teacher, who still has an interest in the children of our community. During the summer Mr. Winsor voulteers with the Carmanville Recreactional Program, which is a summer program for kids ages 5-12 to have a fun safe, summer, doing different activites everyday. This program also helps to supply jobs to teenagers who are planning on going to a post secondary institution, or who are going to a higher grade after the summer is over. In the winter time Mr. Winsor makes sure that at the first sign of cold weather that the rink in our community is flooded and kept open and running smoothly all winter for young and old alike.

Phillip Thorne

My name is Philip Thorne and I feel honored to have been chosen for HORIZONS. One of the organizations I am apart of is 512 Exploits Air Cadets Squadron, Bishop’s Falls. I have been in Air Cadets for four years and I am a Sergeant, I am also lead tap snare drum player. Throughout the year, there are many activities that I participate in for my community, through Cadets. To list a few: Remembrance Day parade, Christmas parade, The Children’s Wish Foundation parade, Halloween pumpkin patrol, collecting food for the food bank, town clean up, planting trees, etc.

The Remembrance Day parade is a very special event, our squadron march to the Memorial grounds, the band plays and we lay a wreath as we salute the fallen Soldiers. Our group is also represented in our town Christmas parade, with its own float. Finally, we collect donations for the Children’s Wish Foundation and then we march with other groups for this special event.

During Halloween the cadets go out to different sections of the community and protect little children from bring bullied. Another activity that the cadets take part in is a community food drive. We join with the fire department and go door to door collecting food items that the firemen send to the food bank.

In the summer we participate in a town clean-up, at the same time we plant trees near the Exploits River. This gives me great pride in knowing that I am contributing to keeping my town clean.

My experience in the cadets will help me in the future, since I plan to pursue a career in the Canadian Armed Forces, as an Engineer.

I feel that an ideal citizen would have to be involved in different community programs, fund raisers, school functions, etc. A respectable citizen must have high regard for the law and this person would be someone whom I would admire and respect.

Sinead McGrath

I live on a small island called Fogo Island. There are approximately three thousand people who live on our island. Since the population is so small, we have only one major sports facility called the Iceberg Arena.

For the past seven years, I have been a member of the Fogo Island Minor Hockey Association and I am presently coaching both novice and atom ice hockey teams. I have been given the responsibility of explaining and demonstrating a particular drill while at the same time helping these kids to better understand the basic fundamentals of the game and on how to become the best players that they can be. I have many responsibilities from the moment I step on the ice until the moment I step off. I assist coach Martin Broders during drills, demonstrations, and off ice warm-ups. I feel that by coaching these young, talented hockey players, I have the opportunity to express my love for this wonderful sport, and at the same time, teach them many of the things that I have learned in my hockey career, thus far. I have developed such skills as patience and determination, which I believe are important skills that I will need to posses in any career path I choose to take in the future.

The activities that these kids are involved in will help to keep them active, develop a strong sense of discipline, teach them how to interact with others in a group situation, and hopefully, some day they will give back to their island community by helping some other kid to develop in the sport of their choice.

While working with younger kids I soon learned that coaching can be a very rewarding experience but at the same time it can be a little overwhelming at times. You have to have a love of the game while at the same time you to have patience and respect for the kids that you are dealing with.

My long-term goal is to stay involved in the game of hockey for as long as I can. My dream is to be selected to play with the Team Canada women’s hockey team. From a professional perspective, I want to pursue a university education and become a Physical Education teacher. I’m sure that the experience of dealing with children in the sport of hockey will give me much more insight into how kids perform and get along with each other in a group situation

An “ideal citizen” is one who strives for the betterment of their community and offers their services whenever volunteer help is needed. These individuals have a vision and a desire to see that it comes to fruition. If it is youth or some senior’s group, they are always willing to lend a helping hand. It is in giving back to your community that you show the true type of character that you really are.