What is the Youth Advisory Council (YAC)?
Our mission is to place youth voice at the center of Tim Hortons Foundation Camps’ major decisions, and to create content for the campers, by the campers. We believe in the importance of having youth perspective when making decisions and creating programs for current and future campers. We believe that thriving youth create stronger communities, and we believe in the power of youth voice.
Who are the 2020 YAC?
We currently have nine Youth Advisory Council members; with four of them returning from our 2018/2019 cohort, and five being new! Members consist of youth currently in the program, as well as youth who have graduated the program and are now camp staff; giving us well-rounded viewpoints on the program. Our members speak a variety of different languages including, French, English, Korean, Spanish, Urdu, and Arabic. The YAC members bring a variety of perspectives and come from different walks of life, both geographically and experientially. Coming from such diverse backgrounds, our members still share one common goal – to have their voice heard and to make positive change within the foundation.
Without further ado….here they are!
Megan grew up on Cape Breton Island, NS, and is currently studying in Halifax, at Mount Saint Vincent University. She is working towards completing a Bachelor of Science, with a major in biology and a minor in neuroscience. Megan has been a part of Tim Horton’s Foundation Camps for almost 9 years, as both a camper, and now as a counsellor.
A typical day for Megan looks like her checking off boxes on her long to-do list between school and work, while still managing to jam out to her epic playlist, and spending time with her friends. Megan is outrageously good at making conversation with anyone she meets, about anything and everything. Professionally, she is passionate about creating a safe environment for anyone she works alongside. Megan thrives on helping others succeed, and has a passion for working with kids; helping them to develop into the best versions of themselves.
“I whole-heartedly believe in this foundation, and what it does for the youth and the communities it affects”
Aimen grew up in Airdrie AB, and currently resides in Edmonton AB, where she attends grade 10 of high school. Her passion for helping kids and their families drives her future plan to become a pediatrician. Aimen will be entering into Level 4 of the summer program this year, and she often identifies camp as the catalyst for her newfound confidence.
She keeps her schedule full with activities like kickboxing, basketball, art, and academic groups such as student mentoring. Aimen is an incredibly talented writer and regularly uses her talents to make her voice heard. Her positive and kind demeanor is contagious, and it often encourages her peers to step out of their own comfort zones, and to explore their own creative side.
“Camp has truly changed me for the better and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it”
Antonio is an outgoing and proud resident of Flint, MI, where he attends grade 10 of high school. He has a passion to help provide more opportunities for marginalized communities, and for people of colour. Antonio will be entering into Level 4 of the summer program this year, and has been looking forward to applying for the Youth Advisory Council since it started back in 2017.
Antonio’s involvement in extracurricular activities is astonishing, between being part of the Youth Ambassadors program, Flint Repertory Theatre, The Principals Advisory Council, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and the Men of Excellence; mentoring program, we are continually impressed with his ability to still make time for his friends, family, and camp.
“You have to be a part of the solution, not the problem”
Bitisho resides in Hamilton ON, where she is currently completing her last year of high school. She is a Student Ward Volunteer, at the Hamilton General Hospital, and part of the Literacy Imagination Team at her school. Bitisho graduated from Level 5 last summer, at Tim Horton’s Onondaga Farms, and is a returning member from the 2018/2019 Youth Advisory Council, she is also fluent in both English and French.
Bitisho has chosen to study International Development and Globalization next Fall; this is because she is tired of seeing people turning a blind eye to all of the injustice around the world, and wants to make an impact. Bitisho is often described as one of the most genuine people you’ll meet, and is devoted to her close circle of people, however she does not shy away from welcoming new people in with open arms, and a laughter that is contagious.
“I strive to be someone people know they can turn to. I’ve had situations in which I wished I had someone like that; so I want to be that person for others”
JiYu was born in Gwangju, South Korea, and moved to Canada in 2010. She currently resides in Moncton, New Brunswick and is in grade 11 of high school. She is the grade 11 representative on her school’s Student Council, a member of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor’s, Greater Moncton Youth Council, and will be graduating from Level 5 this summer.
JiYu is passionate about making a difference, and hopes to one day be a dentist, providing accessible dental care for people in need. Currently she keeps busy with her studies, family, friends, and badminton tournaments, representing her high school, local club and even Team NB. Her peers would describe her as compassionate, honest, and an incredible cabin mate.
“I want to help and make other campers experiences as memorable as mine”
Gus is a proud resident of BC, currently residing in Surrey where he is in grade 12 of high school. Aside from regular studies, he is part of an Indigenous Book Club, is an executive for his school’s Red Cross Club, and a member of the Environmental Club. Recently, he has formed a mental health outreach group at his school in hopes to travel to middle schools, and have meaningful conversations with youth concerning mental wellness. Gus is currently enrolled in a Musical Theatre course through his school, has newly become the youngest person to be promoted to management at his job, and has served as a Youth Advisory Council member for two years now.
Whether it be visual arts, dance, or musical theater, creativity runs through his veins, and he plans to pursue music professionally. Academically, people may be surprised to know how much he enjoys the problem-solving required for classes like pre-calculus and chemistry. Gus creates a safe space wherever he goes by opening up his mind and heart to anyone he meets.
“I hold no judgement, and as a friend it is my responsibility to listen”
Originally from Clarkston, Michigan, Amy is a first year student at Eastern Michigan University, studying Secondary Education with a concentration in Social Studies and History. Amy graduated from Level 5 last summer, at Tim Horton Onondaga Farms, and is a returning member from the 2018/2019 Youth Advisory Council.
Amy is passionate about spending time on the things that matter most to her, like education, her friends, family, and various causes that help others. Amy is a dedicated and active member of her community year-round, and In the summers, works as a day camp counsellor where she has the opportunity to support kids in making positive impacts themselves. Peers would describe her as ambitious, organized, and the ultimate team player – working collaboratively is second nature to Amy.
“If I knew the work I was doing would impact another person positively, then I’m in”
Raised in Toronto ON, Catherine is currently in her second year of Health Sciences at Western University. Catherine contributes to the fight against homelessness through taking part in various community outreach programs such as, weekly volunteering at an organization that helps people get back on their feet to achieve economic self-sufficiency, and by sitting on the London Youth Mental Health and Addiction Council.
Between her academics, friends, family, and volunteering initiatives, Catherine has continued to carve out time to be a devoted member of the THFC Youth Advisory Council, and has since graduated from Level 5 at Tim Horton Onondaga Farms. Catherine’s positivity, kindness, and dedication for helping others reach their full potential is admirable, and does not go unnoticed.
“I am so grateful to have the opportunity to better a program that has bettered me”
Born and raised in Montreal QC, Philippe is currently in his first year of Financial Services and Insurance at Cégep du Vieux-Montréal. He has also completed the Natural Sciences program at Cégep André-Laurendeau. Graduating from the summer program in 2017, Philippe is now a Lead Wilderness Counsellor at Tim Horton’s Children’s Camp in Tatamagouche, NS.
Philippe is an incredible story teller, teacher, and coworker to have on the team, and speaks both French and English. He is passionate about fostering the strengths within youth, and creating a safe and encouraging space for both youth and his peers to grow. Philippe strives to live the ‘simple life’, and finds comfort when working outdoors. He hopes to encourage this mindset with the youth that he meets.
“What excites me most about my work is seeing the vast positive impact we have on young people”