My name is Jesse Wilson and I have been a part of the Boys and Girls Club for over 12 years and over these years it has been a great pleasure to have been a part of this organization.
I started off at the Ladysmith Club in the After School Care Program when I was six then, upon moving to Nanaimo, joined the Fifth Street Club. When I was a kid, I was a bit awkward and had a hard time making friends, however the leaders were a big help and I looked up to a lot of them.
Once I aged out of the After School Care Program, I was still majorly involved. I like to support and volunteer as much as I can. I also became a member of the South Side Teen Centre, one of the most important aspects of my life so far. Not only have I made lasting friendships there but I have learned many valuable things as well. I participated in leadership groups where one year I became the president and was part of career preparation programs including Kal Tire’s Skilled4Success and Camp Old Navy. I also became a member of their Dragonboating Team Full Throttle, which has taught me aspects of teamwork and sportsmanship as well as making me feel like I belonged. It showed me that I could be a part of a sports team.
With the Teen Centre I have volunteered at different events in the community which has taught me the importance of giving back. The Teen Centre has also taught me the importance of working hard to achieve goals. We were fortunate enough to be chosen to participate in a YMCA Youth Exchange with the St. Alban’s Club in Toronto. We had to participate in all of the planning for the exchange, including what we would do with our guests when they came here and then plan and put on fundraisers including bottle drives, hot dog sales and roadside garbage collection. We were rewarded by our trip to Toronto where we got to do some sightseeing and have some really cool experiences like going up the CN Tower, learning about our history at Fort York and hanging out in box seats at a Blue Jays game.
I am currently at Vancouver Island University working toward a degree in Theatre and I believe my goals have been supported by the staff and participants at the Boys and Girls Club. They have attended my plays both in High School and in University and have given me opportunities to practice both acting and public speaking for the Club. I was proud to have been able to speak about the Boys and Girls Club for the United Way on several occasions over the past year.
As my time as a participant in the Teen Centre draws to a close, I look forward to being able to volunteer in the future. In conclusion, I believe that without the Boys and Girls Club and the Teen Centre, I wouldn’t be the person I am today and I would like to thank all of the staff who have become so important to me. I am proud to say that my future started here.