There were a few tricks and plenty of treats at the Brantford Family YMCA’s fall fun fair on Saturday.
Children with newly painted faces explored a spooky haunted house in the gymnasium, learned a Latin funk dance routine to Michael Jackson’s Thriller and even scared up some hot dogs and cupcakes from smiling YMCA staffers.
The Halloween-themed fun fair, back for its second year at the Wellington Street YMCA, depends on 20 young volunteers from the YMCA’s Youth Corps program. The volunteers, ages 10 to 18, plan the day’s events, guide the children between the various activities and ensure everyone has a spooktacular time.
“It’s great. They have lots of ideas, lots of energy,” centre manager Marc Clare said of the youth leadership program. “Having a program to help them grow as young people is fantastic.”
“I’m learning to be more responsible,” said 11-year-old Paige Casler, now in her second year of Youth Corps. Casler, dressed as a gruesome joker playing card, said she enjoys hearing positive feedback from the children and their parents.
“I feel really good – like I did something good for them, and they did something good for me,” she said.
To cap off the fun fair, Clare presented longtime youth program volunteer Wendy Witmer with the volunteer of the year award. Neil MacDonald, who works in the housekeeping department, was named the top rookie volunteer.
About 35 volunteers give of their time as fitness instructors, fundraisers, receptionists and house staff for the YMCA. Their dedicated service is a crucial complement to the work of the YMCA’s 25 paid staff, Clare said.
“We couldn’t do the things we do at the YMCA without our volunteers,” he said.