Happy International Youth Day!
Students and youth are the lifeblood of our parks — we couldn’t do without them!
Here are just a few stand-out students and youth from around the province:
Olivia (she/her) and Matthew (he/him)
Park guides Olivia and Matthew help groups visiting Bronte Creek Provincial Park find their picnic shelters (the park has 11!).
When a lost child appears, they help! When there’s a visitor that needs direction, they help!
Who could ask for two better park guides?
Abbey is a first year maintenance student at Ivanhoe Lake Provincial Park.
Her job is to help clean and maintain the park for campers to enjoy.
Abbey’s favourite part about being a maintenance student is being able to work outside everyday with like-minded people!
Joselyn has been working the front gate at Murphys Point for two seasons.
Her favourite part of the job? Talking to customers and hearing their stories!
Khalil loves getting customers set up with canoes and kayaks so they can experience Murphys Point Provincial Park by boat.
This is his first year working at the park store.
Christian Panhuis (he/him)
Some heroes wear high-vis.
This is Christian’s first year at Quetico Provincial Park, and our team would be lost without him. His hard-working nature, side-splitting sense of humour, and willingness to jump in and learn new skills have been invaluable.
Whether it’s cleaning campsites, repairing boardwalks after flood damage, or helping on biology trips, this 6’4″ soon-to-be legend does it with a great big smile!
Erica Lemelin (she/her)
This year, Erica became Quetico Provincial Park’s youngest backcountry ranger in a century!
This bubbly paddler has transferred all her energy and enthusiasm into customer service and campers are thrilled.
Erica’s dedication to Quetico, ability to troubleshoot, and reliability was an absolute asset at our Dawson Trail Campground for the past three seasons.
Erica will now be taking “epic floatplane rides” to work at Prairie Portage, one of our remote entry stations along the USA-Canada border. We know she will be up for the challenge!
Alice Boyle (she/her)
Alice is an enthusiastic first year gate attendant at Neys Provincial Park.
Her favourite part of working at Neys is watching the sun set on Lake Superior almost every day.
Sabryn Drystek (she/her)
This is Sabryn’s first season working with Ontario Parks as Woodland Caribou Provincial Park’s office assistant and she is a superstar!
She is always ready to tackle a challenge and spends most of her days assisting park visitors with canoe trip planning. She has become an expert at providing information about impacts of forest fires on portage conditions and loves to spend her down time designing digital media for the park.
Darci Brygidyr (she/her)
Darci has 10 seasons under her belt with White Lake Provincial Park and its cluster!
She got into working with parks because she wanted to be outside all summer and meet new people!
Darci aspired to have a career within the natural environment and Ontario Parks sounded like a perfect opportunity! Her favourite thing about parks is getting to meet people from far and wide and hearing about their cool adventures!
Darrell Lee (he/him)
If you have visited Grundy Lake this summer, you may have been checked into your campsite by one of the park’s amazing gate attendants, Darrell!
This is Darrell’s first season at Grundy Lake and his positive attitude and constant smile have been welcoming visitors to the park since June.
Claire Williams (she/her)
No job is too big, too small, or too stinky for Claire!
As a first year maintenance student at Grundy Lake, Claire approaches every task with enthusiasm.
Claire’s personality brightens the rainiest of days! She even lends a hand on her days off by helping prepare paint palettes at busy Art in the Park programs.
Her dedication to the Grundy Lake team makes her an essential staff member!
Ashley Meness (she/her)
This is Ashley’s second year at Ontario Parks, and her first year as a Discovery ranger at Grundy Lake Provincial Park.
Ashley’s positive attitude and love for the natural world is infectious, often encouraging even the shiest of visitors to participate in programs.
Ashley is a member of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation. Ashley shares her Indigenous culture with Grundy Lake staff and visitors in many ways.
During her “Powwow Dances Evening Program”, over 100 campers joined in as Ashley led them through a Round Dance. Chi-Miigwetch Ashley for all you’ve shared so far!
Liam Sudano (he/him)
Liam is in the middle of his second season as the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park Backcountry Trails Assistant.
Liam is an exceptionally hard worker and has set a new staff record for hauling heavy materials up the Sleeping Giant. Liam is currently constructing new steps on the Top of the Giant Trail so that visitors can continue to enjoy our park’s signature hiking trail that leads to an iconic gorge on the summit of the Giant.
Élyse Baaklini (she/her)
Élyse has been with Voyageur Provincial Park’s store for seven summers now. She started in a student position in 2016 and was promoted to assistant store leader in 2021.
She’s a quick learner and a dedicated member of the team.
Élyse is polite, well respected by coworkers and campers alike, and makes a priority of helping. She does a fantastic job of ensuring the restaurant and the store is always clean, tidy, and organized.
Nicole Lalancette (she/her)
From checking you in to helping you plan your visit, Nicole loves welcoming guests to Voyageur Provincial Park.
You might’ve had the pleasure to meet her or talk with her on the phone. Her positive energy is contagious and always brightens our day.
She takes pride in delivering a high quality of customer service and enjoys ensuring your stay is a memorable one.
Gerald Hardy (he/him)
“Jay” is a hardworking Discovery student in his first season at Darlington Provincial Park.
He provides programming and education for park visitors on a number of things such as campfire programs, park history, and plants and animals commonly found within Darlington Provincial Park.
He has been a tremendous addition to the Discovery department and has assisted Darlington’s Discovery leader with many projects this season.
We appreciate all your hard work this season, Jay!
Enes Aydin (he/him)
Enes Aydin is an enthusiastic first year student at Fitzroy Provincial Park in Ottawa. Working as part of the registration team, he most enjoys having the ability to bring creativity and innovation to his Ontario Parks job.
This is Valerie’s first year as a gate attendant at Earl Rowe Provincial Park.
She has excellent customer service skills and is able to assist both English and French speaking visitors!
Valerie is passionate about the conservation of natural ecosystems and is currently studying environmental sciences and ecology at University of Guelph.
Staff at Long Point Provincial Park
We would like to recognize all of our hardworking and dedicated gate attendants who work tirelessly to provide excellent customer service to all of our park users.
All of our staff come to work everyday with a smile on their face and an eagerness to meet all of our new and returning visitors.
You can find these students completing a variety of tasks such as checking in reservations, selling day passes, cleaning the park store, providing directions and answering questions.
Thank you for everything you do for Long Point Provincial Park!
Cobi Gilchrist (he/him)
Cobi is a senior maintenance student at McRae Point Provincial Park and has been with maintenance for five seasons.
In this time, he has developed into a team leader and is an asset helping with new students to learn their duties.
Cobi is hardworking and leads by example. Thank you for all your hard work, Cobi!
Avery Thurston (he/him)
Avery has worked at McRae Point Provincial Park for four years now as a gate attendant, making him an irreplaceable member of the team!
Avery provides exceptional customer service to park visitors to ensure their stay is enjoyable, and supports the gate program by assisting new attendants in learning about the policies and procedures.
Avery is enthusiastic, hardworking, friendly and takes pride in his work!
Sierra Dusick (she/her)
This is Sierra’s first year as gate and store attendant at Halfway Lake Provincial Park.
Sierra enjoys welcoming campers from all over the world and loves stocking up the shelves at our park store.
Audrey Bureau (she/her)
Audrey is currently spending her summer working as a store attendant at Halfway Lake Provincial Park.
Starting her Ontario Parks journey in 2020, Audrey enjoys scooping ice cream for campers, big and small. Using her knowledge from previous years, Audrey has been a tremendous team player and helping hand this season.
Clark Besserer (he/him)
This is Clark’s first year at Halfway Lake Provincial park as a maintenance worker.
He enjoys filling potholes and takes pride in keeping the grass around the campground well-trimmed.
Sonya McCaffrey (she/her)
This is Sonya’s first year at Ontario Parks!
Working as a maintenance worker, staff at Halfway Lake Provincial Park can always count on her to show up and do her best.
Sonya is a great asset to the Halfway Lake maintenance team.
Marek Havlovic (he/him)
Marek is one of many students at Halfway Lake Provincial Park.
He enjoys helping campers and riding the side by sides.
Amelia Larochelle (she/her)
This is Amelia’s first year at Ontario Parks as a maintenance student.
Amelia is spending her summer working at Halfway Lake Provincial Park and brings her joyous smile every day to work.
Shaye Stamp (she/her)
This is Shaye’s first year with the Bass Lake Provincial Park maintenance team, but not her first year in parks.
Coming over from Port Burwell Provincial Park, she brought her positive and fun attitude and high standards for a job well done, encouraging others to do their best.
She’s a great role model for other staff!
Fionna Launchbury (she/her)
Fionna has worked at Bass Lake Provincial Park for five years now, currently as a gate attendant, and previously at their park store.
Fionna is extremely knowledgeable and excels in all she does at the park — from going the extra mile to help park guests, to supporting her coworkers during busy shifts, to helping new staff gain knowledge of the park and policies, to seeking out new learning opportunities to grow in her role.
She really goes above and beyond!
Mattea Wafelbakker (she/her)
Mattea’s second year in maintenance at Mara Provincial Park is marked with her eagerness to learn and improve her knowledge and skills in park maintenance.
She is also extremely kind and helpful to those new staff looking for a peer coach to help them learn the ropes!
Samara Wafelbakker (she/her)
You would never guess that this is Samara’s first year working with Ontario Parks!
Samara’s friendly personality, ability to problem solve, and exceptional customer service skills have made her a wonderful addition to the Mara Provincial Park gate team.
Angela has been a part of the Earl Rowe team as a Discovery Leader for two seasons.
She works hard every day to help campers learn about nature and encourage discovery. You can always find her running an exploration station or helping another department.
Angela is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Education and is looking forward to her future as a teacher. The next time you visit Earl Rowe, make sure to say hello to Angela!
Dana Shnitsar (she/her) and Hayleigh Hayes-Sheen (she/her)
Dana and Hayleigh are the Discovery rangers at Kettle Lakes Provincial Park.
This is Dana’s first and Hayleigh’s second season!
They enjoy helping visitors explore, observe, and discover the park by running exciting programs and giving recommendations in the Visitor Centre.
They are also some of the best iNaturalist users in the park!
Maeve Osborne (she/her)
Maeve is one of Kettle Lakes Provincial Park’s awesome gate attendants!
This is Maeve’s first season with parks. She is always ready to help customers with a smile on her face. Her favourite part of her job is meeting friendly campers!
Keaton, Charles, Kingsley, and Graeme
Keaton, Charles, Kingsley, and Graeme are a big part of the maintenance team at René Brunelle Provincial Park.
They spend their days maintaining the park by cleaning, weed whacking, raking beaches, taking out the garbage, taking care of the woodshed, and so much more!
This team is the reason why René Brunelle functions beautifully.
Ethan Thompson (he/him)
Ethan is a fourth year student, who brings a tireless work ethic to his day to day work responsibilities at Awenda Provincial Park.
Although Ethan is a student, he has demonstrated great leadership attributes and is a role model for the rest of his team!
Ethan’s hard work is contagious and he challenges himself to “lead and excel.”
Dave Schmidt, Shea Sivyer, and Andrew Hamm
It’s not just a day at the beach for the enforcement team from Port Burwell Provincial Park!
Meet the trio from the north shore of Lake Erie who have been keeping park visitors safe and campers happy this year.
This is Dave’s second season, Shea’s third season and first as a park warden and Andrew’s first year as a park warden. All three have law enforcement career aspirations.
These park wardens are always willing to assist park visitors by providing education and lending a helping hand wherever needed. They can be depended upon to deal with visitor concerns promptly and professionally while on patrol throughout the campground and day use areas.
Jaida Appleby (she/her)
Jaida is a second year gate attendant at Balsam Lake Provincial Park.
She is very hardworking, friendly and helpful to both visitors and co-workers.
Always smiling and ready to go out of her way to help train new staff or take on extra responsibility to help out everyone at the park.
Vanessa Tully (she/her) and Sierra Lamoureux (she/her)
Vanessa is an enthusiastic first year maintenance student at Rideau River Provincial Park, she is always on the look out for ways we can improve park operations and keep the maintenance team busy! Vanessa has been an amazing addition to our hard working team this season!
This is Sierra’s second season working at Rideau River Provincial Park. She is an uplifting leader to those around her while always lending a helpful hand when needed.
Sierra adds a positive light to the park whenever she is here and it is very appreciated!
Bridget Craig (she/her) and Jarrod Orok (he/him)
Bridget has been a valuable asset to Rideau River Provincial Park for three seasons now, she always makes the public feel welcomed upon arrival and greets everyone with a big smile.
Bridget goes above and beyond to ensure Gatehouse operations run smoothly and is always there to help new gate staff thrive!
Jarrod has spent two seasons at Rideau River Provincial Park brightening the days of staff and campers with his positive attitude and witty jokes.
Jarrod is quick to help operations run smoothly throughout the park, he is especially known for his consistent work on their Tackle Share equipment and his eagerness to answer the phone in the gatehouse!
William Dunlop (he/him) and Trevor Gorman (he/him)
William has taken a step up this season at Rideau River Provincial Park after being a maintenance student during his first season in 2021, and is now a manual worker.
William is a strong leader for the maintenance students and is always on the lookout for new tasks he can tackle with his team while always ensuring they have proper maintenance supplies at the ready. He makes supervising a maintenance crew look easy and exciting, we are so thankful for his hard work!
As a returning maintenance student, Trevor often finds himself being William’s right hand man!
Trevor offers a calming and kind presence to the maintenance crew, he always offers support to his coworkers to ensure everyone is working together and enjoying their time spent at Rideau River!
Millie Cathcart (she/her) and Olivia Rowsell (she/her)
It is both Millie and Olivia’s first season working for Ontario Parks, they have been a wonderful addition to our staff at Rideau River Provincial Park.
Both Olivia and Millie are eager to learn and lead alongside our more senior gate staff members.
You’ll never see them without a smile on their faces, happily greeting campers and providing information about our facilities here at Rideau River. We are so happy to have them join our team this season!
Sierra Lamoureux (she/her) and Michael Gilchrist (he/him)
This is Sierra’s second season working at Rideau River Provincial Park, she is an uplifting leader to those around her while always lending a helpful hand when needed.
Sierra adds a positive light to the park whenever she is here and it is very appreciated!
Michael has recently joined our team at Rideau River Provincial Park, eagerly learning from senior members of their maintenance team, like Sierra.
Michael is a quick learner that quickly adapted to maintenance’s routine and has become a team member that brightens all of his coworkers days with his positive attitude and funny jokes. We’re so glad to have had him join our team!
Sydney Horton (she/her)
Sydney is an enthusiastic third year gate attendant at Long Point Provincial Park.
You will always find her with the biggest smile on her face while assisting campers and her co-workers. If you don’t see her in the office, she’s most likely in the store looking after what she refers to as her baby!
Corey Forest (he/him)
This is Corey’s first season with Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park and he has already helped with some big projects around the park!
Corey helped to build new boat racks, a new fish cleaning table, and is now busy making new picnic tables. Corey takes pride in his work and is a valuable part of the Sturgeon Bay team.
Shaney Nadalin and Jude Althot
Shaney and Jude are both new to Ontario Parks this year and they have been keeping park visitors engaged as Discovery guides at Port Burwell Provincial Park.
From their amazing displays in the Interpretive Centre to hosting a variety of Exploration Stations around the park, there’s no shortage of interesting and fun things to discover while visiting Port Burwell, where Shaney and Jude’s shared passion of discovery takes flight and shines!
This is Delsin’s first year in the Murphys Point Discovery program.
He is currently in high school, and thinks this is an amazing summer job.
He loves working outdoors, and also the park’s work with the Gray Ratsnake — not only monitoring populations but also educating the public about these awesome creatures!
This is Caleb’s first year with the Murphys Point maintenance department.
Caleb is still in high school and loves that working at Murphys Point allows him to work outdoors and learn a whole new set of skills.
Julianne has worked at Murphys Point for three seasons.
She has expanded her knowledge of park operations by working in many different departments, including maintenance, discovery, gatehouse and office.
Julianne is going to school for environmental management and assessment, and loves the practical experience that working in a provincial park gives.