Canadian Olympic Athlete & Take a Hike Volunteer: Laura Brown

Over 100 volunteers support Take a Hike each year; board members, committee members, event planners, mentors and outdoor adventurers to name a few. We are so grateful to all of our volunteers and would like to provide a shout out and share an interview with one very special volunteer: Laura Brown.

Why do you volunteer with TAH?

As an Olympic athlete, outdoor adventure enthusiast, and University graduate myself, I believe in the combined power of physical activity and education. I yearned to become part of an organization that engaged and empowered at-risk youth to positively transform their own life, become the best they can be, and pave an alternate path through such outlets. Being a volunteer with TAH also gives me a lot of purpose in my own life; it is truly a reciprocal partnership. TAH is like its own little community, in which I feel honored to be a part of.

My wish is to continue to volunteer with TAH for many more years to come. I feel uplifted and moved every time I step into the classroom. It has been very rewarding volunteering with Take a Hike and I am constantly inspired by the students and staff. I also love hearing the students at Take a Hike talk about their own experiences as a volunteer within their own community, as it is required to volunteer themselves.

Why do you think TAH is successful?

It is both refreshing and encouraging to see an organization that is working within the school district to facilitate alternative learning for young adults. Everyone has potential to be who and do what they dream of, but sometimes an environment is not conducive to realizing such achievements. These students are given a fair opportunity to set goals, dream big, and obtain success both in and outside the classroom on both personal and academic levels. Not only does Take a Hike provide a safe, inclusive, and accommodating environment for all the students to grow and thrive in; it also challenges them on many levels. Even in my brief time at TAH, I had seen transformations in the students. The teachers and staff are enthusiastic, dedicated, and compassionate towards each and every student.

What is your favourite TAH memory?Circle. Every morning I spent in the classroom I was honoured to be a part of this ritual. We would sit in a circle and a question was posed by one of the teachers or staff members. Everyone takes a turn answering the (sometimes difficult) question and gives a number from 1-10 on how they are doing that day. Circle really gave me an insight in to what the students were struggling with and any obstacles or challenges they were facing. But it also illuminated their hopes, dreams, and ambitions. Circle could often stir up emotions amongst the group and it was in these moments I saw how much the students and staff respected and supported one another.

Would you encourage others to volunteer for TAH and why?

Without a doubt! I try to spread the word about TAH as much as possible within my network and everyone is always intrigued and moved by the organization. TAH is innovative in its leadership approach to empower at-risk youth to realize their dreams, maximize their full potential, and give back to their own communities. I hope to see the support for TAH continue to grow and hopefully we can expand into many more communities.

Thank you so much Laura, and all of our volunteers! We appreciate your time and talents so much!