2022 Volunteers Spotlight

Lisa Sheppard, Volunteer at YMCA

Certified in Cycle Fit since 2017, you will find Twyla leading the Wednesday cycle fit class at 9:15am. Members love her classes which combine great music and fun, yet challenging drills.

We always have fun and get just a little bit fitter 🙂. All are welcome.

Lisa Sheppard, Volunteer at YMCA

Lisa volunteers teaching Group Fitness Classes. You can find her on the pool deck teaching aqua fitness or in the Bob Thorburn Studio teaching yoga.

Greg Dunne, Volunteer at YMCA

Greg Dunne has been with the YMCA since the age of 11. He is a long-time YMCA member and an active volunteer, both within and outside of the YMCA. Besides weight-lifting, Greg is passionate about mentoring and helping others.

Greg is a frequent volunteer in our Food Security Program, delivering food hampers and essential items to those in need in the St. John’s Metro area. His help allows us to continue to support our community during this unpredictable time of the COVID pandemic.

Megan Ryan, Volunteer at YMCA

Hi, my name is Megan Ryan. I have a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and I have recently completed my Masters in Occupational Therapy. I am currently employed as an Occupational therapist, but I volunteer twice a week at the YMCA in Marystown. I started volunteering in the fall of this past year and I teach mobility class in the pool which I developed. I have always been interested in swimming and have been involved with aquatics almost my entire life.

In working on and developing the mobility group, I wanted to be able to offer a lower impact form of exercise for individuals who may be injured in some way or who were looking for a way to improve their mobility but were unable to do so in the gym. In volunteering at the YMCA, I have been able to offer a service that until now has not been offered to members. I hope to be able to assist in developing more groups that benefit the members coming to the Marystown YMCA during my time volunteering in the area.

Joanne Sheppard, Volunteer at YMCA

Joanne volunteers with our Employment Enterprise and Newcomer Services and works with our tax program: Community Volunteer Income Tax Program.

Diane Walsh, Volunteer at YMCA

Ten years ago, I joined our local YMCA and participated in many classes and discovered I enjoyed Aquafit the most. What can be accomplished in the water is incredible. In 2019 I became a certified Aquafit instructor- I felt I had a lot of enthusiasm to bring to my class. Developing a cardio-based emphasis as well as having fun and going at your own pace was my primary goal. I also strive to foster an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere, just like YMCA itself.

Through volunteering at the Y I’ve made many friends and truly feel fulfilled by making a difference in our members’ lives. At the encouragement of the YMCA I am developing a beginners strength training program that once again emphasizes the members working at their own pace.

I am seventy-one years old now and I have been volunteering at the YMCA since 1981. I have been playing handball since the age of ten. Most of the handball back then was seasonal as we only had outdoor and sub-standard indoor courts. So you can imagine how excited myself and the local handball group were when we heard our new Y was opening with regulation handball courts. I played recreationally and competitively for the next two years. I had no intention of volunteering as I was quite happy to be playing the game I loved three or four times a week. However, one day I was approached by four young boys who lived adjacent to the Y. They were intrigued by the game and wondered how they could become involved. I started instructing that small group and before I knew it, all the neighbourhood kids wanted to play handball. At that point, the program director at the Y approached me about incorporating handball into their program offerings.

By working closely with the Y administration we were able to develop a terrific program that incorporated the Y’s ideals of inclusiveness. Boys and girls from different socioeconomic backgrounds and varying degrees of athletic ability were all welcome. Seeing this group of kids having so much fun interacting with each other made me realize how rewarding my volunteer work had become. For them the program had numerous benefits: physical health; skill development; the opportunity to develop life-long friendships; and to become confident and capable adults. In fact, many of the children in the group went on to become Y volunteers themselves. The program also opened the door for players to travel all across Canada and the U.S, many of whom would not have had the resources to do so. The John’s YMCA handball program became recognized as being one of the top junior handball programs in Canada. It produced and continues to produce Regional, National and International champions.

We also adopted the same model into our adult program. All welcome! We brought existing Y members into the sport. Some who wanted to play because their children were playing, others who wanted to have a good workout while playing a fun game. Many of our handballers joined the Y simply so they could play handball. Although many of them were never involved in a sport before, they signed up for the program because they felt so at home with the relaxed atmosphere and the welcoming group of volunteers. We succeeded in making handball a family sport!

2021 marked the 40th anniversary of the St. John’s YMCA handball program and after all these years and at the tender age of 71, I still can’t wait to resume my volunteer role. If this sounds like a one-man show, it is quite the opposite. Over the years I have had great support from the Y and my fellow volunteers. People have often complemented me on how much time and energy I was putting into the Y program but I have to say that I got much more in return!

Andrew Short, Volunteer at YMCA

My Name is Andrew Short and my experiences with Y volunteering started when I was 12 years old. A friend took me to the St. John’s YMCA and introduced me to Bill Mcgrath who was running the YMCA handball programs. I stayed with the program as a player, spending hours every week with Bill and Wayne Amminson, and when I was 17 I worked as a YMCA handball summer camp instructor. My success in the handball program allowed me to join traveling teams, and I made friends from all across North America. From my involvement in the program, I started to use the strength and conditions centre which started a life long commitment to exercise.

For a number of years I was not at the Y, pursuing my education and career, but when my own children needed swimming lessons, I returned to the YMCA and found Wayne Amminson still providing the Handball program, and I knew I wanted take a turn giving back. That was 7 years ago, and I have been happy volunteering with the Y ever since, and giving back to the programs which were so important in my youth.

My inspiration to volunteer, and do other charitable work is rooted in the examples provide to me by Wayne and Bill over 30 years ago, It continues to be an important part of what keeps me grounded and provides a full happy life. Look up the handball program that fits you, friendships are waiting to be made.

Hayley Dalton, YMCA Volunteer

Hayley Dalton comes to us as a volunteer with a background in figure skating. Having been figure skating since a young age, Hayley is well-versed in program design and physical literacy for young children. She is very excited to be volunteering with the YMCA in the ActiveKids program at the Ches Penney Family YMCA on Tuesday and Thursday mornings!

Barb Ellis, Volunteer at YMCA

We are also honouring Barb Ellis this week as one of the YMCA’s most experienced volunteers! As a young child she watched her grandmother volunteer at the YMCA poolside and followed in her footsteps. Joining the YMCA as a member at the age of 13, Barb has remained involved ever since, volunteering for the past 10 years. You’ll see Barb at the Ches Penney Family YMCA instructing Aquafit on Mondays and Fridays!

Sara House is a YMCA new volunteer. This soon-to-be high school graduate has an immense background in dance, specifically ballet, and is eager to pass along this skill to young children at the YMCA. Dance classes take place on Sunday at the Ches Penney Family YMCA in St. John’s!