Andy Montgomery recently retired as chair of Mini-Yo-We’s board of directors. Andy and his son, Connor, raised over $100,000 for camper sponsorships last summer on their Brent Run — a 162-km canoe trip through Algonquin Provincial Park!
A Rocky Start
I was introduced to Mini-Yo-We as a camper at the very first session of Junior Camp. It was the summer of 1981 and I was 8 years old. Back in those days, sessions were all 2 weeks long. To say I was incredibly homesick would be an understatement. I vividly remember that we were all required to participate in a “morning dip”. The lake water was cold and I really hated swimming! Most of all, I missed my family and my summer routine at the cottage. For me, the mid-session visitor day was pure torture! I had convinced myself that I would be able to persuade my parents to get me out of that place. Well, my plan didn’t work out and I was forced to stay for the second week. The last thing that me or my parents could have ever imagined was that not only would I come back to Camp in future years, I would also really never leave. It’s now 42 years later and I still find ways to stay connected and involved.
Why Did I Stay So Involved?
- Camp Mini-Yo-We changed my life! That’s the plain and simple truth. Camp is where my faith developed, where I gained my confidence, where I learned to take risks, where I chose to serve and where I found my voice. I chose to stay involved because I love seeing this type of life-change in others.
- The mission at Mini-Yo-We is to develop tomorrow’s leaders, which I am extremely passionate about. People sometimes question whether the next generation will “have what it takes”. I’ve seen firsthand how incredible the young leaders at Mini-Yo-We are. It’s such a gift to see these leaders grow and develop. I’m encouraged and believe our future is in good hands.
- It doesn’t just happen! Camp exists because people give of their time and resources. Look back at our history and it’s clear that many people have made sacrifices for Mini-Yo-We. It’s such a great part of our history and I’m convinced it’s a significant part of what makes Camp great. I count it a privilege to be a part of this.
- We live in a world that can tend towards being unintentionally self-absorbed. Life gets busy and it’s easy to find yourself left with no margin to help others. While I have by no means perfected this, I have tried my best to leave space to give back. It’s brought joy and been personally rewarding to know that I’m helping and making a difference.
- Mini-Yo-We is family! My friends from Camp are my closest and most important friends. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for this community!
I’ve stayed involved with Camp in a number of ways over the years, for example by volunteering in the summer and at work parties. With the exception of a one year break in the middle, I’ve spent a total of 20 years serving on the board. As I write this blog post, I’m preparing the agenda for what will be my last board meeting. While there have been times that were a lot of work, and there were also times such as during Covid when there was additional stress, I can honestly say that I’m so thankful I had the opportunity! It’s been an incredible honour to serve on the board and I already know that I’m going to miss it immensely.
Three years ago I created a personal mission statement. It took me 47 years to learn enough about what makes me tick to be able to capture this — perhaps I tick more slowly than most. My mission is to spend my life learning, guiding and giving! Serving on the board has been a way for me to live this out. I’ve learned so much over these 20 years and am truly grateful. Looking back, I know that I’ve received so much more from Camp than I’ve given!
“He who is not busy being born is busy dying.” Bob Dylan