News & Events
Posted: June 14, 2017
Meet Marty Leaf
For some, camp is a summer escape. But for Marty Leaf, it’s his passion.
Marty isn’t a man of many words but his character speaks volumes as he walks down the corridors of JCC.
Marty is a resident of Reena, a home in Thornhill for individuals with developmental disabilities. He grew up going to The Jack and Pat Kay Centre Camp and declares it his second home.
“I love it,” exclaims Marty.
During the summer, Marty is often the first person you’ll see in the morning. His smiling face greets campers at drop off and this happy nature is enough to let you know your child is in good hands.
Marty is a true mentor figure and friend, evidenced by the onslaught of kids that run up to him for a hug or a good laugh.
He keeps old cabin photos in his backpack to show campers and share memories of the years when he too was a camper at this same camp. The nostalgia and excitement that these photos evoke remind him why he continues to reach out and connect with new people.
Marty’s been coming to the JCC for almost 19 years now and enjoys every second. His warm-hearted approach and gentle nature make him one of the most popular figures at camp and his loyalty, passion and involvement won him the prestigious Dan Shulman Community Volunteer Award last year.
As a camp volunteer, he participates in a variety of activities such as swimming, dance, drama and sports. It’s almost as though he’s reliving his own childhood through the work he does.
Marty Leaf’s JCC story is about building a sense of belonging and developing relationships that transcend decades.
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Posted: March 14, 2017
Ten years ago Kayla Daniels was referred by JF&CS to The Jack and Pat Kay Centre Camp to, in her words, “develop who I am and make new friends”.
Kayla’s story is just one of the many success stories that come from community collaboration and outreach. It is also testament to the notion that when we give, we actually get more in return.
An amazing inspiration to her fellow staff and campers, Kayla is now in her fourth year as a counsellor. As a camper, she developed strong friendships that she believes helped her achieve personal success and navigate tough times. In addition to making new friends, camp also helped her reconnect with old friends broadening her support network.
Kayla says one of the reasons she likes being a counsellor is the ability for her to give back to campers the skills, support and confidence that she received once herself.
Her understanding and appreciation of Jewish and Israeli culture is also something she credits Centre Camp with, and something that she makes sure to pay forward. “You come to camp to have fun, but I’ve learned a lot from camp about the Jewish culture,” says Kayla. “This helps me figure out who I am and as I grow up this still shapes me.” Her first time hearing the Israeli anthem, Hatikvah, was in camp as well as many Shabbat songs and activities. Each time she is inspired, she brings that information and joy home to share with her family, especially her younger sister who is now also a Centre Camp camper.
What is Kayla Daniels’ JCC Story? It’s the message of connection, friendship, support and giving back.
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