General Manager, Training and Development
YMCA Calgary,Association Services
Joann Hook has learned a thing or two about people in last 17 years, as a member of the staff team at the YMCA Calgary, an organization that offers programs and services that help strengthen the foundation of the community.
In her current role as the General Manager for Training and Development within Human Resources, Hook manages the people that power the YWCA – both staff and volunteers.
“Volunteers are the backbone of our organization and we recognize them to be a vital partner in achieving our mission and vision,” said Hook. “Volunteers help us build healthy communities!”
Volunteers are well-integrated into the core of the YMCA’s work. There are currently 1,045 YMCA volunteers, helping in every capacity within the organization. Volunteers lend time and expertise in the areas of Youth Leadership, Youth Advisory, Fitness Instruction, Member Services, Preschool and Youth Programs, Community Outreach Program, International Committee, Family and Corporate opportunities and, of course, on the Board of Directors.
Hook works collaboratively with volunteer coordinators at each YMCA branch to ensure consistency throughout the organization especially when looking to implement changes or updates to current systems or policies relating to volunteers.
The YMCA’s integrated HR system facilitates the tracking and management of volunteers alongside staff. Everyone attends core training together.
“My favourite part of my job is hearing the great stories and seeing the relationships that form between volunteers, staff, participants and members,” said Hook.
With so many locations and activities, volunteers stay connected to the YMCA by accessing its extensive intranet system allowing them direct access to news and events as well as their staff and volunteer colleagues.
“Appreciation, support, communication and providing meaningful opportunities are so important,” said Hook. “People want to know and see that they are making a positive impact.”
When working with volunteers, Hook emphasizes the value of recognition. “We can never appreciate enough; publically and personally recognize our volunteers for their time and talents given to the YMCA.”
YMCA Calgary has an annual formal recognition celebration that takes place in April during their AGM where they recognize the outstanding contributions of adult and youth volunteers at each one of their six branches. Each year, they also celebrate and recognize all volunteers individually during Volunteer Appreciation Week.
Naturally, contributing to the overall wellness of individuals is very important to the YMCA. “In appreciation for everything our volunteers do, including meeting their monthly time commitment and attending ongoing training, we offer up a YMCA Calgary General membership,” said Hook.
Tips for Volunteer Managers from Joann:
- Utilize the support and advice of the great resources that are around us like Volunteer Calgary.
- Collaborate with like organization that have successful systems in place, and begin with the end in mind, what would success look like for your organization when it comes to volunteers!