The Recreation and Leisure Services program at Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning has been named as 'Volunteer of the Year' by Tim Horton Children's Foundation in recognition of the program's ongoing support to the Foundation's Onondaga Farms, a residential camp program for disadvantaged children.
A partnership that began four years ago with a few student volunteers providing support to the March Break camps held at the farm has evolved to provide a curriculum-based, experiential learning opportunity for all first-year Recreation and Leisure students to put their leadership and program planning knowledge into action. Senior students have the opportunity to return in second year in advisory or facilitative roles.
"The partnership between Onondaga Farms and the Recreation and Leisure Services program allows our learners to experience the positive difference the provision of recreation can have on an individual's quality of life and life choices," said Norma McDonald Ewing, Coordinator of the Recreation and Leisure Services program. "In a supportive setting, the learners have the opportunity to enhance their leadership, facilitation and interprofessional practice skills. The campers' closing banquet testimonials have a powerful impact on the learners' understanding of the personal, social, and environmental benefits of recreation."
John Malcolmson, general manager of Onondaga Farms, presented the award at the Recreation and Leisure Services Program Advisory Committee meeting on October 22. "Conestoga's Recreation and Leisure Services students have dedicated tremendous time and effort to all aspects of our camp life, and play an integral role in our ability to provide a first-class camp experience," said Malcolmson. "It's the commitment of our restaurant owners and volunteers that allows the Tim Horton Children's Foundation to make a difference in the lives of thousands of disadvantaged children each year."
Executive Dean Marlene Raasok, School of Health & Life Sciences and Community Services, accepted the award on behalf of the program.
Recreation and Leisure Services is a two-year diploma program that provides students with theoretical and practical learning experiences that include a wide range of recreational skills for careers in the recreational field. Graduates find employment in a diverse range of settings, including municipal recreation and parks departments, private agencies, nursing and retirement homes, rehabilitation centres, commercial recreation facilities cruise ships and outdoor adventure programs.
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