Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA Adult Volunteer: Norman Geitzler


Why do you volunteer?

I have been a full time volunteer for 35 years at with several organizations. All of them dealing children. A car accident left me unable to return to work in 1981. I was a Recreation Director and an Arena Manager outside Ottawa. Since I was unable to hold a full-time job, I went back to my passion of volunteering.

Why do you volunteer with the YMCA specifically?

The reason I volunteer with the Y is because they gave me my first real camp experience. I feel very strongly about working with the children and helping them learn self confidence.

If I can help just one child, then all these years are worth it.

What is your favorite thing about volunteering?

I will help these children as long as I can possibly do so. Working with other volunteers who also want to help children makes it rewarding to know that they will take some of the skills and pass it on.

What is your Y Story?

I have been attending the Y since I was eight years old. When I was 11, I was sponsored to attend 2 weeks at a summer camp. My family was unable to pay for me to go. I was so thrilled and happy to go. On my 12th birthday, the age I was able to apply to become a Y volunteer, I became a Junior Leader. Over the years I progressed to an Intermediate and then a Senior Leader. During college I taught both Recreational and Competitive Gymnastics as a volunteer at the central Y downtown Ottawa. After graduation I continued to volunteer at the Y teaching Recreational and Competitive Gymnastics. I did this right up to the time of my accident. I volunteered for about 24 years at the Ottawa Y.  I moved to Calgary in 1988 and applied to Volunteer at the Eau Claire YMCA in October of that year. The person who hired me was Nancy Ferris. We have kept in touch for the past 29 years.