Who is Bill Rees?

Bill Rees

Bill began volunteering in 1954 at the YMCA in Regina, and has served the Regina and Northern Alberta YMCA’s in numerous capacities including: Board member, fund development, teaching swimming and fitness classes, and offering his communications expertise – just to name a few.   

He has been working in Association Services as a full-time volunteer for the past 26 years.  Few people have shared their energy and joy of living with the YMCA like Bill Rees. Bill’s personal volunteer impact is recognized and celebrated each year as we present these Volunteer Awards in his honour.

2016 Volunteer Award Recipients


Please watch this brief video that captures some of the achievements of this outstanding individual who is most deserving of this year’s volunteer of the year award.

Greg Polkosnik – Jamie Platz YMCA
Program & Service Volunteer Award Recipient

Greg’s journey with the YMCA began on the August long weekend in 1990 when he was a substitute instructor for a fitness class at Jamie Platz, now he teaches 2 cycle classes and a strength class each week.

Over his 25 years at the Y Greg estimates he has led nearly 4,000 classes.  His respect for the YMCA and its core values are evident in his devotion to the Y.

Misty Chase – Castle Downs YMCA
Program & Service Volunteer Award Recipient

Misty, a mother of four and a fitness instructor since 2010. She believes strongly in teaching people that fitness is rewarding and fun. She loves seeing people take their health into their own hands and enjoys helping them get to their fitness goals.

Philipa Bates Renouf – Don Wheaton YMCA 
Program & Service Volunteer Award Recipient

A Y member since the ‘80’s and has taught aerobics and step classes. For the last 5 years she has grown the yoga program at Don Wheaton and now teaches 3 classes /week.  She looks forward to teaching so she can get to know many great people at the Y.

Randy Lee – William Lutsky YMCA
Program & Service Volunteer Award Recipient

Always been passionate about health and fitness. In 1998 took the YMCA’s ‘Individual Strength and Conditioning Leaders’ course and added another volunteer position to his numerous other community volunteer roles – but this one was at the YMCA.

When asked why he volunteers – Randy responds, “Watching members achieve better health, functional mobility and strengthen and endurance are the best rewards.”

Leslie Bjur – Child Care – Grande Prairie Region
Program & Service Volunteer Award Recipient

Leslie is a parent in our out-of-school care program at Holy Cross School. Leslie volunteers and shares her passion for art with the children. Every child feels that they are successful when Leslie is helping teaching them.

Valerie Parks – Community and Housing Initiatives – Wood Buffalo Region
Program & Service Volunteer Award Recipient

Valerie has been volunteering with the YMCA since 2010.  She volunteers as a group facilitator in the English conversational circles. As a result of witnessing new Canadians struggle to communicate she decided she needed to assist them with their integration into this new country. She now provides workshops on Canadian culture and living in Wood Buffalo, giving them an additional chance to practice their English skills.

Mike Cheung - William Lutsky YMCA
Spirit Volunteer Recipient

Mike volunteers everywhere throughout the branch – MOD (Manager On Duty), advanced aquatic instructor, and as our mascot ‘Spirit’. Mike says the YMCA has been influential in building his confidence and challenging him to always be the best he can be.

Jadeene Wheaton - Jamie Platz YMCA
Story Teller and Fundraising Volunteer Recipient

Since 2003 Jadeene had been asked to donate to the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign, and at that time she didn’t even know the Y was a charity.  Since then she has volunteered tirelessly with the Strong Kids Campaign and says she feels great when she hears a story about how the Y has changed the lives of individuals or families.

Katey Jones - William Lutsky YMCA
Youth Volunteer Recipient

Although only a grade nine student, Katey volunteers weekly in after-school and preschool programs, and in day camps during the summer.  This year Katey took on the role as junior advisor for the L.I.T.’s (Leaders in Training).  Katey has been exposed to positive role models and mentors within the YMCA ‘family’ – Katey has a passion for being of service and volunteering with the YMCA is an important part of her life.

Tyler Gerling – Castle Downs YMCA
Youth Volunteer Recipient

Tyler, a high school student, has been volunteering for close to 9 years.  After he completed all his swim levels, he started volunteering as an assistant swim instructor – at 8 years old.  Later he joined the L.I.T. program (Leaders in Training).  which he continues to be involved in today. Tyler is now a part-time swim instructor, and continues to volunteer.