By Lesley Morrissey
January 19 was one of my favourite nights in YACC’s calendar. It was the night when we stop and celebrate those important people who help keep our programs running — our program volunteer team.
In 2022, YACC had over 60 program volunteers. These volunteers are YACCers (young adult survivors and supporters) who give their time, energy, compassion, patience, and love to their peers in so many ways.
Our program director, Karine, broke it down for us in such a beautiful way: when YACC was fortunate enough to be able to host four-day, face-to-face events pre pandemic, we were able to connect deeply with approximately 20-25 survivors at Retreat Yourself, 12 at Retreat Yourself Adventure, and just over 100 at a Survivor Conference. These were deep connections that were life-changing for many, but with limited staff and budgets (it costs a lot to run a retreat/conference in person) we were also limited by the reach we had to the YACCer community.
Due to the pivot we had to face over the last three years, YACC has created new and different programs that could not have happened without volunteers to help develop and deliver them. In 2022 alone, our YACCers were able to connect over 2,000 times during one of our digital programs or via Localife (which is getting back to face-to-face events). This would never have happened without the love, dedication, and passion of our program volunteers.
At this year’s “cheers to volunteers,” we were able to thank our volunteers who helped to deliver more programming than ever to the young adult cancer community in Canada, and they were able to share some of their highlights of the year with us such as:
- Participating in events like Primetown and Localife
- Seeing new people attend YACC Chats for the first time and get connected to their peers
- Hosting their very first Localife event and seeing the impact their event planning skills can make on an individual
- Stepping out of their comfort zone by putting their story out on the web for all to see
- Providing insight to the office team through sharing their personal experiences
- And so much more!
We raise a mug (of warm, delicious, hot chocolate) to our incredible volunteers. Thank you for your time, your passion, your empathy, and your hearts. Without you, we would never be able to deliver life-changing programs. What some of you may think of as simple acts of involvement are truly momentous acts of kindness and connection. We are forever grateful.