by Adam Gariepy, Volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lanark County.  

“As a first time Mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters I was given a unique opportunity to be involved in our community – volunteer in a program called Game On! Eat Smart, Play Smart, Live Smart. Having run group sessions with difference organizations in the past, I was still unsure of what to expect from a male only group. I was both excited and anxious.

After the first session, I was overwhelmed with the level of engagement and excitement from the boys involved with the program. It was truly “Guy time;”for them and they were very excited about this, as was I. The importance of this guy time has proven beneficial within the program. We get to talk about being a guy, media, marketing, making healthy choices, stress and other important aspects of living a healthy active lifestyle. The boys have become more comfortable with both myself and Kyle Buchanan (my fellow Game On Mentor) since week one of the program. They have opened up, become increasingly more engaged. Some of the boys have said “we don’t want Game On to ever end!” and “Can Game On run all day?”. This speaks volumes to the impact that this program truly has on each of these kids that are involved.

 I would highly recommend volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters, whether it’s with the Game On program or in any other aspect of the organization. It is both a rewarding and inspirational experience. You get to make and actually see a difference that you’re making in a child’s life. I’d like to thank the BBBS team for the opportunity they have given me to be part of making a difference in Lanark County.”

 Game On! is a group mentoring program for providing boys and young men with information and support to make informed choices about a range of healthy lifestyle practices. Through non-traditional physical activities, complemented with healthy eating support, participants are engaged in life skills, communication, and emotional health discussions designed to engage participants in the pursuit of life-long healthy lifestyles.

 Game On! includes seven 75-minute core sessions. There are also four extension modules that capture potential issues and topics specific to various locales and the interests of the mentors and participants.

 The program strives to do the following:

  • through the lens of healthy living, openly discuss current and pressing issues facing boys and young men
  • build appreciation for the benefits of healthy eating habits
  • promote physical exercise through the use of non-traditional activities
  • instill respect for socio-economic, ethno-cultural and racial diversity
  • encourage leadership skills and independent thinking
  • and above all, make a difference.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is celebrating 40 years in Lanark County in 2013 and is highlighting and celebrating a different volunteer each month. For more information about this program or others, please call 613-283-0570 or visit www.bigbrothersbigsisterslanark.ca