National Volunteer Week takes place April 18-24, 2021, and reflects on the awe-inspiring acts of kindness by individuals and the magic that happens when we work together towards a common purpose. As Volunteer Week in Canada celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce would like to recognize one exceptional individual, who after 45 years of service, is their longest serving volunteer — Deb Broomfield.
Deb began volunteering with the YMCA as a Fitness Instructor in 1976, but her experience at the Y started with swim lessons when she was just ten years old. As a trained classical ballerina and gymnastics instructor, her passion for fitness has been a life-long endeavour which she now shares with others through her volunteer work at the Y. Throughout the years Deb has contributed her time in many ways, including as a teacher with the Y nursery school, as a cook and volunteering with the parent committee. Today she can be found teaching Cycle and Gravity classes twice a week at our Health, Fitness & Aquatics facility. Deb’s volunteer work is an inspiration to many of the staff, volunteers and members at the YMCA.
Brandon Downing, Supervisor; Fitness & Wellness at the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce talks about Deb’s contribution, “Our Fitness and Wellness Department wouldn’t be able to run the way it does without Deb. Her participants love her classes and she has many loyal followers who know they’ll get a challenging workout to some classic rock. She is constantly looking for ways to make her classes different so that her participants have lots of variety in their workouts. Deb’s commitment to furthering her knowledge every chance she gets is inspiring. She has made my job easier, and I truly appreciate her commitment to the Y.”
Denise Reid, a friend and regular participant in Deb’s classes, had kind words for her, “Volunteering is a gift we can all share. Giving of your time freely every now and then is one thing, but to offer this gift for 45 years, is something quite different. This requires passion, caring, offering encouragement, stamina and commitment. Deb has shown these qualities over and over again. This is an amazing milestone, which I know Deb will be very humbled to be recognized for, but is well deserved. On behalf of the Tuesday and Thursday morning Gravity and Spin class, we thank you for keeping us on track with our health and fitness goals and we congratulate you on 45 years of volunteering at the YMCA. Congratulations, my friend!”
When asked why she volunteers at the YMCA, Deb said, “I volunteer at the Y for many reasons, but most of all their core values are important to me. It is a place that is inclusive for all people and has a financial support program for those with lesser means. I also love the staff; a highlight for me were the Y fitness retreats that I got to attend with other like-minded people. I really enjoy teaching fitness classes in the Health, Fitness & Aquatics facility. Our new Y still leaves me in awe.”
As a non-profit charitable organization, the YMCA thrives with the support of our community. Through volunteer work and donations, we’re able to offer our Assisted Membership program which allows people with a financial need to access programs and services that help improve their overall wellbeing. Volunteers like Deb directly impact the lives of people in our community and we’re grateful for all the volunteers that help to deliver YMCA programs and services.
If you would like more information on volunteer opportunities at the Y, visit our website at ymcaowensound.on.ca or call 519-376-0484.