Spring Into Giving – Day 3: Giving youth a supportive place to develop

May 11, 2022 7:00 am by Jason Friesen Dynamic Featured Image

Donate to the TNYF Spring into Giving campaign TODAY by clicking HERE!

Taking on more responsibility can present a big learning curve for youth. Thanks to Camp Manitou, Winnipeg Jets Hockey Academy (WJHA) student Kristian has been able to grow his responsibilities in a supportive environment.

Kristian, age 15, started out his Camp Manitou journey as a camper – enjoying the many activities offered there. In recent years, though, he’s transitioned to leading others through those activities, first as a volunteer and now as an employed counsellor during the summer months.

That steady progression is thanks to many lessons learned along the way, starting with his time in the WJHA.

“I vividly remember the first time I played goalie. I was terrified, but it turned out that I was great in net and became the team goalie for the year,” said Kristian. “I have had a couple of experiences at Camp Manitou where I was forced out of my comfort zone too. Those times were moments with the kids when they were unwilling to participate or listen. When I found the words to approach the kids, I learned that I could do anything if I put my mind to it.”

Being open to new experiences isn’t always easy, but Kristian has bettered himself by simply trying things he might not always be inclined to. Though he hasn’t always found success, his peers and mentors at Camp Manitou and the WJHA, along with his parents, have always encouraged him to persevere and grow from those experiences.

“We teach our son that it’s not about being the best,” said Kristian’s mother Nadia. “We want him to be better today than he was yesterday. Observing his growth, we are happy to see him on the right path.”

To have a place like Camp Manitou that offers students with an opportunity to progress from camper to volunteer to employee is so valuable to them – they know that youth like Kristian will learn plenty of lessons and be put in scenarios that will challenge them to grow but not put more pressure on them than they can handle.

“Working with kids, our son felt a responsibility and always tried to do his best,” said Kristian’s father Pylyp. “At the end of the day he was tired at home after supervising kids, but always happy to acknowledge that his efforts were appreciated and well rewarded by seeing kids’ happy faces and their excitement for the next day together.”

The support shown through the enthusiasm of campers, and also from his parents and mentors at camp, have left impacts that will only help Kristian continue to grow at Camp Manitou and beyond.

“They showed me what true responsibility looked like and what I should strive to be as a future counsellor,” Kristian said of the leaders at camp. “They helped me find the line between being a volunteer and camper, and assisted me in finding a balance between being a fun and responsible counsellor.”

Give Manitoba youth like Kristian the chance to develop in a supportive environment by donating to the TNYF Spring into Giving campaign HERE! All donations make a difference for Manitoba youth, as just $50 provides lunch for a week for a Camp Manitou camper.