NYLAC group photo 2024

The National Young Leaders Advisory Committee (NYLAC) was established in 2020 to advocate for and support the incorporation of youth voice in decision-making within the Canadian YMCA movement.

The National Young Leaders Advisory Committee works to:

  • Engage and provide youth voice and perspectives to YMCA Canada as input on emerging issues, opportunities, programs, priorities, and strategies

  • Build the leadership capacity for youth to be able to fully participate in decision-making spaces as valued decision-makers

  • Strengthen and engage the YMCA Young Leaders Network as a mechanism for gathering diverse youth voice nationally

  • Support YMCA Young Leaders Network members as a resource and partner in their local efforts and initiatives

  • Connect Youth Advisory Committees/Councils to share experiences, promising practices, and learnings to maximize the value they bring to their YMCA Associations

  • Advocate for and increase the representation of youth/young leaders on national and global initiatives internal and external to the YMCA

  • Educate and reduce intergenerational barriers to make space for more diverse youth voices

NYLAC Members are YMCA staff or volunteers who are passionate about youth voice, engagement, and leadership.

Contact: youthandglobal@ymca.ca

NYLAC Members 2023-2024

Senior Operations Manager
YMCA of Lethbridge

Headshot of Scott Boyd

About Me: Being in my 4th year as a team member of the YMCA, much of what ignites passion within my work is the potential that youth bring to our communities! Connecting and engaging with youth every day from helping a child score their first basket in basketball to creating safe places for youth to bring their lived experiences to the YMCA. 

How I can Help: Please reach out if you're looking for any support with building youth programs or developing safe places for youth to grow within your community. 

Fun Fact: I am always looking to improve my dad jokes! As a new dad, they need some work! 

Contact: Feel free to book a meeting at any time, click here. You may also reach me at 403-942-5737 or scott.boyd@lethbridgeymca.ca.

Youth Worker, Employment
YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka 

Maggie Culhane headshot

About Me: With more than 7 years working with the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka, I have worked in a number of roles, but my home base has always been working in youth employment. I love helping young people to gain the knowledge, tools, and resources to confidently reach their employment goals. I have also been lucky enough to participate in the Young Ambassadors program with YMCA Canada, learning more about the YMCA across Canada and around the world.  

How I can Help: I am passionate about everything employment and have a long history working in youth programming and supporting youth engagement.  

Fun Fact: I love hiking and checking out different Provincial Parks! 

Contact: Feel free to reach out to me at marguerite.culhane@sm.ymca.ca.

YMCA Community Action Network (YCAN) Coordinator
YMCA of Southwestern New Brunswick (unceded traditional lands of the Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet), Passamaquoddy, and Mi’kmaq Peoples)

Kendra Gautreau headshot

About Me: I've been with the Y for almost 6 years now in different capacities, however my current role working with youth has been my favourite! Youth are the present so we need to make space for their ideas, passions, and experiences as these are shaping the future.  

How I can Help: Happy to connect if you are seeking knowledge about Youth Programming, Supporting and Advocating for Youth, and/or Connecting Youth with Community and Volunteering. 

If you are a young person interested in making a difference in your community, reach out so I can tell you about YCAN!  

Fun Fact: Catch me on the slopes in the winter and on the baseball diamond come summer. 

Contact: Let’s chat! Feel free to reach out to me at k.gautreau@saintjohny.ca.

Manager, Youth & Community Programs
YMCA of Three Rivers 

Melissa Haynes headshot

About Me: I am in my 6th year working with the Y, and recently just finished my first year in my current role focusing on youth programs, partnerships, and initiatives across YTR. Before joining our youth team, I supported programming at the Y for children, youth, day camps, and community development. What ignites my passion is the potential that each individual youth has to shape our communities and future by being given opportunities to grow and thrive. 

How I can Help: I am passionate about supporting the growth and development of youth! Please reach out if you're looking for any support with building youth programs, developing leadership training opportunities for young people, amplifying youth voice, or supporting youth advocacy to drive change. 

I also have over 15 years of experience in the day camp world and would love to chat about day camp operations anytime! 

Fun Fact: I have a love for being outdoors, traveling, hiking, the cottage, and almost every sport! 

Contact: I am happy to chat any time! Please reach out via email at melissa.haynes@ytr.ymca.ca to schedule a meeting, shoot me a message on teams, or my cell at 519-998-9244.    

Director, Camp Ki-Wa-Y
YMCA of Three Rivers

Lauren Kteily headshot

About Me: I just wrapped up my 10th summer at Camp Ki-Wa-Y and have been fortunate enough to work in a number of camp roles from seasonal to full-time. I have a passion for camp and everything that comes from working outdoors year-round. Supporting the growth of young staff is something that brings me back year after year!

How I can Help: Please reach out anytime, I am always happy to chat about ways to better support and advocate for youth voice, especially in camping!

Fun Fact: While working at camp, I have learned how to drive a school bus, tractor, AND snowplow!

Contact: Feel free to reach out at any time! Lauren.Kteily@ytr.ymca.ca or 519-577-5388.

General Manager, Employment Services
YMCA of Southwestern Ontario

Ray Kurniawan headshot

About Me: The Y has been a part of my life since I was 8 years old when I first started taking swimming lessons at my local branch. I am now in my eleventh year as a Y employee, currently as the General Manager of Employment Services at the YMCA of Southwestern Ontario. I am passionate about strengthening our communities, developing global citizens, and empowering the voices of youth. The Y has given me an outlet and pathway to express my other passion for living an active and healthy lifestyle. 

How I can Help: Giving youth a strong and meaningful youth voice is something that I care about deeply. I believe it is the duty of the Y to give the youth of our community the voice they deserve so if there is any way that I can assist in engaging youth within your community, please feel free to reach out!

Fun Fact: I have visited 13 different countries and counting!

Contact: Feel free to contact me at ray.kurniawan@swo.ymca.ca or (519) 258-9622 ext 2654. 

Mental Wellness Facilitator
YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg 

Dana Lance headshot

About Me: I self-identify as a 1.5-generation immigrant of Filipinx and Japanese ancestry that works and lives on Treaty 1 territory otherwise known as Winnipeg, Manitoba. I am new to the Y but not new to working with youth! I have been working with youth for about 9+ years in different capacities within the non-profit world. Currently, I work as a mental wellness facilitator for our Y Mind anxiety program for teens and youth ages 13-30 and our general mental health services. Aside from working in mental health, I have been dancing for about 10 years, currently perform with two dance teams, and teach classes. I am excited to be learning and growing within the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg while also serving the communities that need mental health support and programs.

How I can Help: Please reach out to me if you are looking to get referrals or access to community resources in regards to mental health and/or navigation with youth. As well as any general programming and resources for youth organizations. 

Fun Fact: I love learning languages and I'm fluent in French while learning Japanese, Korean, and my own native language ilocano (a dialect of the Philippines) and tagalog! 

Contact: You can contact me by phone at 204-560-7268 or email me at dana.lance@ymanitoba.ca

Community Youth Coordinator
YMCA of Greater Moncton; situated on the traditional unceded territory of the Wabanaki peoples

Hannah LaPointe headshot

About Me: I’ve been involved with my YMCA for 6 years now, in a variety of capacities. My passion remains similar to what it was all those years ago; to make an impact in the lives of youth. Bringing youth together to engage in difficult conversations and make a difference in their community is at the core of what I do. Watching a passion ignite in them is the greatest reward one can ask for.

How I can Help: If you’re looking for information on positive youth engagement, making an impact, youth mental health, or how to balance multiple roles within your organization; please don’t hesitate to reach out! 

Fun Fact: I am an out, loud & proud member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community – find me advocating for our rights 24/7.  

Contact: Let’s chat! Feel free to reach me anytime at 1-506-381-3598 or hannah.lapointe@ymcamoncton.ca.

Program Coordinator, Youth Transitions Program
YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford

Lydia Loo headshot

About Me: I have been with the YMCA since December 2019, working in various youth programs in various capacities. I have worked as a frontline youth worker supporting youth in developing skills and connecting to resources, as well as in a program coordinator role by equipping frontline youth workers with the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to support youth. I am passionate about building up the capacity of a community to engage, support, and empower youth from all backgrounds. The outlook of a community is dependent on the wellness of its youth today.

How I can Help: The mentors that I met along the way have empowered me to empower others. I am happy to connect about resources and engagement opportunities for youth and youth workers (especially for newcomer youth). As a growing professional, I’d also love to discuss ways to find/create opportunities to grow your career.

Fun Fact: I love learning about different cultures and new languages. I am fluent in three languages (English, Cantonese, and Mandarin). Other than working to keep up my fluency, I also am trying to learn other languages, including Arabic, French, and ASL. Duolingo is currently my best friend, but I’m always open to practice buddies. 

Contact: Let’s chat! Feel free to reach me at lydia.loo@ymcahbb.ca or 289-244-3288.

Intercultural Competency Training Facilitator
YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth

Ayesha Naqvi headshot

About Me: I am entering my fourth year of working with YMCA Immigrant Services, and I have worked both as support staff for newcomer youth and as an intercultural competency trainer for employers and settlement staff. I have a passion for education and sharing stories. I can't wait to engage in that communication at the national level too!

How I can Help: As an immigrant woman of colour who works in the area of equity, diversity, and inclusion, I am passionate about seeing strength in identity and making sure youth of many different voices are heard.

Fun Fact: I love to sing and will always be ready for karaoke!

Contact: Please reach out to me at ayesha.naqvi@halifax.ymca.ca to chat or schedule a meeting.

Manager, Child Care
YMCA of Southern Interior BC

Amanda Perri headshot

About Me: I am going into my third year at the YMCA of Southern Interior BC where I currently oversee child care programs. I am passionate about helping foster children’s development in an environment that breaks down barriers and provides opportunity within a safe space. 

How I can Help: I am an advocate for inclusion and diversity, identifying as a member of the 2SLGBTQ+ Community. If you are looking for connection or engagement, please feel free to reach out!

Fun Fact: I moved from Toronto to British Columbia to explore the mountains and never left!

Contact: Please feel free to reach out at amanda.perri@ymcasibc.ca or 250-258-3986.

Program Coordinator, Enterprise Olympics
YMCA of Newfoundland and Labrador

Jess Rice headshot

About Me: Heading towards my second year working at the YMCA and loving every moment! My job entails supporting youth across NL in pursuing their passions by exploring entrepreneurship as a career option. My education and work experience are in Business and HR. I was someone who entered the non-profit, community sector and never looked back! I am all of 5ft tall but have a fire in my belly to meet new people, foster meaningful connections, and lift up others around me. 

I am also a new Change Agent participant in the 5.0 World YMCA cohort and I am so excited to expand my network and life experiences through my national and global engagement with the YMCA!

How I can Help: I pride myself on being able to meet people where they are in life. If you're looking for support in getting your voice out there and heard, learning new things, and taking on new opportunities, reach out to see how I can be there for you! I'm also an expert in youth entrepreneurship and love to see people filling gaps to better their communities with locally-owned businesses.

Fun Fact: I'm a proud cat mom to Enid Evangeline, and have dreamed of owning an English Bulldog named Bruce Wrinkles since I was 4 years old!

Contact: I'm always open to new conversations, let's chat! You can reach me at jess.rice@nl.ymca.ca or 709-765-5303.