Who is Bill Rees?

Bill Rees

April 26,1928 to
February 3, 2017

For over 59 years, Bill Rees committed his life to volunteering across two YMCA’s, in Regina and Edmonton.  Although he began his volunteer career being volunt-told by his boss that he had a ‘volunteer’ opportunity that he couldn’t pass up, he became a role model for volunteerism.  He was a true gentleman and exemplified the highest values, moral and ethical standards, and was an incredible community builder, volunteer and a true philanthropist.  He gave generously of his time, his talents, experience, skills, and treasures. 

Bill had an incredible impact not only within our association but on Ys and a couple of other organizations across Canada and around the world.  He became a full-time volunteer in 1992 when he retired from the Government of Alberta.  

During his volunteer career at the YMCAs he held many volunteer positions in the YMCA, including youth advisor, fitness and learns to swim instructor, board member, and board chair and campaign chair. 

Bill was our YMCA elder and ambassador and inspired and motivated many, many people, young and old, each and every day with his energy, passion and enthusiasm.  Bill loved the YMCA and everything it stands for. 

In 2006, to honour Bill and his commitment to volunteerism we named these awards in his name.

Bill passed away at the age of 88.  Our Y will not be the same, but his memory and legacy will live on.

He will be greatly missed.

2017 Bill Rees 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.


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.

Bonnie Beaumier – William Lutsky YMCA
Program & Service Volunteer Award Recipient

For the past 4 years Bonnie has been a regular at William Lutsky, supporting those in the group fitness area.  Bonnie teaches Zumba as well as other classes, always ensuring they are fun and enjoyable but ensuring a great workout.

Raphael Bohlmann (top) and Lionel Robbins (bottom)
YMCA of Northern Alberta | Grande Prairie Region

Program & Service Volunteer Award Recipients

Lionel and Raphael have demonstrated a deep commitment to the YMCA the drive the children in our Virtual Y program to their weekly outings on  the ‘party bus’.   For these children who have very little that’s fun and/or positive in their lives – the party bus and the drivers are something they look forward to each and every week.   As well as these driving duties Lionel and Raphael are great supporters of the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign and Gala in Grande Prairie.
See the difference they are making in Grande Prairie. Watch video.

Robert Chapman – Don Wheaton YMCA
Program & Service Volunteer Award Recipient

On Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, for the past 14 years, you can find Robert at the YMCA teaching Aikido. Robert is prepared to teach anyone, even a group of young people with autism.  He makes everyone feel welcome in the classes he leads.

Ali Finley – Community and Housing Programs
Program & Service Volunteer Award Recipient

Ali has volunteered with our Alternative to Suspension program since 2015.  He assists with tutoring our participants in math and sciences so they won’t get behind in their studies while they are in our program. Students often comment that one of the highlights of their time with us is Ali’s support to their studies.

Shirley Hutscal – Castle Downs YMCA
Program & Service Volunteer Award Recipient

Over the past two and half years Shirley has become a regular at the Membership desk of the Castle Downs YMCA. She has taken it upon herself to learn all facets the processes at the desk to improve efficiency, and she ensures that any new volunteers are well-trained to ensure consistency and accuracy amongst all of them.

Isabelle Johnson - Jamie Platz YMCA
Program & Service Volunteer Award Recipient

Isabelle teaches Cardio and Strength classes, but she does much more than that -  she builds a sense of community and connectedness with all those that come to her classes.

Sally MacDougall - Child Care
Program & Service Volunteer Recipient

Sally’s day job is an Emergency Surgery Nurse, but when she’s not busy at work she’s helping out in our child care centre in St. Albert.  She assists with field trips or other special activities and makes presentations to the children about Nurses to help them with their playing to learn activities.

Don Patterson - Jamie Platz YMCA
Spirit Volunteer Recipient

Don has been a long time volunteer and is constantly finding ways to build a strong sense of community both inside and outside of the YMCA.  Don has rode his bike across this country to raise money and awareness for our YMCA and other charities as well.  More recently he helped launch a bike program for children and youth on the Enoch reserve. 

Melodie Baker – Don Wheaton YMCA
Youth Volunteer Recipient

Melodie is an exceptional volunteer in our aquatic programs at Don Wheaton, she is great with children and is always willing to help and celebrates every child’s success – so important when children are learning such important life skills as learning to swim.

Paris Brown – William Lutsky YMCA
Youth Volunteer Recipient

In the summer of 2014 Paris started volunteering with the yMCA in the CIT program, that has continued and is now volunteering in a varieety of preschool programs – often she is the first to arrive and the last to leave and always ensures that everyone in the Y classes feel comfortable and involved.

Sam Mageau – Castle Downs YMCA
Youth Volunteer Recipient

Sam has been a very familiar face around Castle Downs for the past 4 years.  Staff describe Sam as a quiet leader, very competent and has a fine attention to detail when planning events such as Hallowe’en Howls and bake sales. SAM loves volunteering in Daycamps whether it’s working with the campers or recruiting teens to consider becoming CITs.