There was palpable excitement among the small group of boys, members of Community Boys’ Group with Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS), visiting ATCO on Thursday, Sept. 22.
They were on a field trip and awaiting their turn to get on the bucket of the ATCO truck that would take them a few hundred feet above the ground.
As this group of boys wait to be matched up with male mentors, they experience the camaraderie and solidarity with other boys like them on field trips, which has been “very enjoyable and awesome,” Gage Bolstad, one of the boys said.
Local businesses and individuals from the Stettler community have been welcoming and generous with their time and efforts, according to Christel Shuckburgh, mentoring co-ordinator of BBBS. She said it helps the boys to have a wide rangeof experiences.
Ian Kilgour, a mentor with the group said of his menitoring experience that “it’s not difficult, and it is rewarding when you see that you can make a difference in someone’s life, create a positive impact.”
Although Kilgour is waiting to be matched to his “little brother,” it doesn’t prevent him from volunteering his time and resources with the BBBS located at Heartland Youth Center (HYC), generously.
“Way back in the 1970s, I remember seeing a BBBS poster in a Ford dealership in Calgary,” Kilgour said. “I had made up my mind then to give my time to someone who needs it.”
With work slowing down, Kilgour has been able to fulfill that wish.
“I think the HYC does a fantastic job,” said Michele Clamp, Bolstad’s mother. “Christel Shuckburgh of BBBS and all the other ladies have been fantastic with Gage.” Bolstad has been going to HYC since the age of six.
“There is a real need for male mentors,” said Shuckburgh. “Often these boys have to wait for years. It would be great to see some of the male members of the community step up to the plate and volunteer just an hour a week.”