Who has the most fun and excels at their summer jobs in Ontario? It’s the 1,600 students who work for Ontario Parks each summer. This past Friday, 40 of the best of these students were honoured at the Ontario Parks Partners Bursary awards ceremony at the Pinestone Inn in Haliburton.
Funded by private sector partners such as Coleman Canada, Mountain Equipment Co-op and Van Houtte Incorporated, the Ontario Parks Partners Bursary program was developed to honour the efforts of Ontario Parks’ most dedicated and enterprising student employees. The program acknowledges that our provincial parks simply could not operate without them. They work the front gates, maintain the campgrounds and trails, operate park stores, deliver naturalist programs, and tackle the multitude of other tasks that keeps Ontario Parks running through the busy summer season. The bursary program awards 40 bursaries of $500.00 each year.
Logan Seymour of Bowmanville, spoke on behalf of this year’s bursary recipients, reflecting on her experiences as a Learn To Camp program leader. Logan remarked that, “It’s the moments that surprise you that are the best. Like the collective look of awe and confusion when you tell a group that everything they need for their tent resides in one small tent bag. And then the look of panic on those very same faces on Sunday when you tell them the tent, poles and fly, all have to go back into that same unreasonably tiny tent bag. When they successfully pack it up, it sends the whole group into cheers and smiles. Those are the moments I will always remember.” Logan was largely responsible for the flawless delivery of the Learn To Camp program at Darlington Provincial Park last summer.
David McKean of Kearney won a bursary award even though he is still in high school. David volunteered over 200 hours (28 days!) at Arrowhead Provincial Park. That’s dedication!
The Amber Booth award is bestowed upon the bursary recipient who excels in the areas of health and safety. This year’s recipient, Victoria Ecclestone of Thornhill, helped fellow staff through their grief stemming from the heartbreaking traffic accident at Killbear Provincial Park last summer. The accident involved one student employee losing their life, and other students being seriously injured. Victoria helped individuals cope with their feelings of loss, and liaised with park management when peer support was needed. This is yet another example of how these fine young people shine and grow during their summers with Ontario Parks.
2012 marks the thirteenth year of the bursary program, which has distributed over $210,000 to deserving students. Congratulations to this year’s recipients!
The 2012 Ontario Parks Partners Bursary Awards recipients and partners.