Midland YMCA – Youth Leadership – Anne Deroches story
“MyY is my partner.”
We are a big family, living out in the country and we’re often busy doing routine family things—but our children were bright and ambitious, always looking to broaden their knowledge. When our girls (Sophie, Madeleine, Isabelle and Émilie) were in high school, they were interested in the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka leadership program. They were already showing leadership skills, (at school) but wanted to take it to the next level.
So each of them, at different times, set their sights on the Y’s leadership program, which meant writing an essay about why it would be important to them, and going through an interview process. As a mother, I liked that entry into the leadership program wasn’t just handed to them—they haLd to work for it and commit to it.
They were embraced right away by the Y, accepting who they are and where they were at in life. All throughout high school they were part of the leadership program and they’ve had the opportunity to travel with the leadership group to Vancouver, New Brunswick, Montreal, Sierra Leone and London. As a parent, I find it really important for my children to see the world and appreciate other countries: their way of life, their strengths and their challenges.
As a result of this travel, our daughter Sophie now wants to do international studies, and Isabelle was inspired to go to the Dominican Republic on her own (with the school) to help the communities there. This is what is so amazing to me—the Y helped to mold my kids to become international citizens.
But it’s not just about the trips. The Y helped them to be part of the community and become more responsible citizens. It made them better people, more confident. I want them to be all that they can possibly be, with doors open everywhere, and the Y has given them that. I might have raised them, but the community helped me and the Y helped me. I am so grateful to the Y for becoming a partner in raising our children.