By Alicia Mancini
When it comes to summer employment for youth, nothing could be more quintessential than the camp counsellor’s role. The junior and senior day camp animators at BGC Dawson play a vital role in the lives of children while gaining meaningful employment that contributes to the local economy.
When schools close their doors in June, parents look to camps for a fun, safe and enriching experience. An experience that BGC Dawson in partnership with Canada Summer Jobs has been offering the children of Verdun and neighbouring boroughs for over two decades. Like many partnerships, it started small and grew with time. This year BGC Dawson was awarded 31 positions through Canada Summer Jobs and is thankful to David Lametti and his team for their ongoing support of our summer programming.
Dawson sees this as an incredible opportunity to invest in the employment of youth. We also see it as an occasion to show young people what a respectful, inclusive, and equitable workplace looks like. One way we were able to do that this year was by extending employment to junior animators. “It’s been an extremely positive work experience, and it’s nice to be paid”, said Jeremy, one of the junior animators. It’s more than just monetary: “seeing how excited the kids were to go to Parc Safari and La Ronde (many for the first time) was so worth it!”.
The experience has been beneficial for all. When we as a community invest in young people, they in turn bring energy and enthusiasm that travels through the children and right back to the heart of our community. They reinvest in us by returning year after year in some cases. Rachel, a senior animator, has been with Dawson for four years. As I talk to some of the junior animators, she’s close by to support and reassure, “The role has been great. I feel like a mentor to the junior animators. It’s great that they are being compensated because they work just as hard.” The consensus seems to be that this is a strong team.
As we look to the future, our desire is to continue to support, contribute and facilitate quality employment opportunities for young people. To encourage them to know their value not only in the workplace but in society as well. Our goal is also to grow our partnership with Canada Summer Jobs. To continue to work in unison towards a common goal of gainful, fruitful, and enriching employment for the youth of today and tomorrow.