National Volunteer Week was created to celebrate all volunteers, including Jill Siebert who has been volunteering for 38 years with the YMCA of Okanagan. Siebert has contributed close to 10,000 hours helping thousands of Okanagan children develop invaluable water safety skills through Y swim lessons.
“Volunteering has enriched my life,” Siebert states. “I’ve gotten so much more out of it than I’ve put in- lifelong friendships, social interaction, new skills I will keep for the rest of my life, and I get to work with children. This is my second home.”
After almost drowning when she was young, Siebert developed an intense fear of the water. It wasn’t until she was in her 40’s that she learned to swim at the Kelowna Family Y when it first opened in 1981. She then immediately started volunteering weekly with children’s swim lessons, contributing her time to help foster the skill in others.
“It’s incredible to think of the amount of kids whose water safety I’ve contributed to. I’ve learned so much here and it’s extremely rewarding to be able to pass it on.”
The aquatics volunteer also gives back to the charity by helping with administrative duties, events and other tasks such as hosting monthly senior socials.
“Jill has left an enormous imprint on our organization, our staff, volunteers, and members all admire Jill,” states Torrie Zimmerman, Aquatics Manager at the Kelowna Family Y. “Her consistent generosity, kindness and eagerness to help is truly inspiring.”
Siebert’s contribution to YMCA of Okanagan is so significant that there is an award named in her honor. The ‘Jill Siebert Volunteer Award of Excellence’ is given out yearly in recognition of volunteers who’ve made outstanding contributions to the organization.
National volunteer week took place April 7-13 as a time to celebrate and thank Canada’s 12.7 million volunteers.
The YMCA of Okanagan is a charity dedicated to building a healthy community. To learn about volunteer opportunities with the Y, from childminding to fitness instruction to administrative duties, visit ymcaokanagan.ca/Volunteer.