The Youth Advisory Council reviews, advises, and makes recommendations to the YMCA of Southwestern Ontario's programs, branches, senior staff, and board members about issues important to young people in Southwestern Ontario. It provides young leaders with an opportunity to engage in charity governance. Members are committed to the YMCA of Southwestern Ontario's values while delivering on its vision and mission. The program’s overall goals are to develop leaders who can help create inclusive communities through advocating for and supporting the incorporation of youth voice in decision-making within the YMCA of SWO.  

Youth Advisory Council members will: 

  • Provide youth voice and perspectives to the YMCA of SWO as input on emerging issues, opportunities, programs, priorities and strategies 
  • Advocate for and increase the representation of youth/young leaders  
  • Develop and build their leadership skills and self-awareness 
  • Act as an ambassador for the YMCA in their community  

Our 2024 Youth Advisory Council is composed of 11 youth members between the ages of 15 and 24.

  • Members are representatives from current staff teams, volunteers, program participants, and YMCA community members.  
  • YAC members:

    • are passionate about youth voice, engagement and leadership 
    • are committed to the on-going vision and mission of the YMCA 
    • have general knowledge of how their local YMCA Association operates 
    • support and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion across the YMCA; and have an interest in, experience with, and/or willingness to gain a broader understanding of the YMCA


YAC Members 2024

Enhanced Employer Support Facilitator, Employment Services
YAC Member - YMCA of SWO


About Me: I have been actively involved in the YMCA since I was 3 years old. I have participated in swimming lessons and youth programs, volunteering in child minding and youth programs for college placements to now running our Y Opportunities Employment Program here in London for over the last year. I have a passion for helping individuals meet their goals at their own pace and breaking down the barriers to do so. 

How I Can Help: I’m passionate about youth advocacy and leadership, community resources, equality, and inclusiveness. Youth are our leaders of tomorrow and we need to support all ideas and experiences to help shape our future moving forward. I strive to foster connections and make every space a welcoming one to any individual. 

Fun Fact: I love lifelong learning and have 3 diplomas in Sports and Recreation, Medical Office Administration and Human Resources Management!

Manager of Day Camp, Camp 
YAC Facilitator - YMCA of SWO


About Me: Hi! My name is Jessi Miles and I am the Manager of Day Camp for the YMCA of Southwestern Ontario. I have been working with the YMCA for about 16 years but I have been involved with the YMCA since I was 12, when I started as a member and visiting the YMCA with my family. I love helping my community grow and working somewhere that feels like an extension of home! 

How I Can Help:  Managing the camps and supporting youth initiatives over the year means that I work closely with youth employees, volunteers, and participants. The youth voice is important to me, and I will continue to support, empower, and advocate for youth in our community to have growing access to YMCA programs, resources, and opportunities. 

Fun Fact: I have a family home in St. Lucia and love to getaway to the island as often as possible! 

Western University Student, 
YAC Member - YMCA of SWO


About Me: I am currently a kinesiology student at Western University and became involved with the YMCA through one of my classes!  I am passionate about health and education and love working with youth.  I hope to make a difference in the lives of others and a positive impact in our community!

How I can Help: I aim to advocate for youth needs and perspectives within our community, especially in the realm of education.  I would be more than happy to discuss ways to better support youth voice, leadership, and development!  

Fun Fact: I love Harry Potter!

Duty Manager, Camp
YAC Member - YMCA of SWO


About Me: I have been working at the YMCA of Southwestern Ontario since 2018 when I moved to London from Newmarket. I have been involved with Summer and School Year Day Camps since I started at the YMCA, and I LOVE anything Camp! I have watched our association transition over the years and have been involved at my branch as a volunteer, staff, member and as a part of leadership. The YMCA was the first place that really made London feel like home to me and has given me some of my greatest friends.

How Can I Help: I am passionate about the implementation of EDI practices in youth engagement and programming. Given the diverse nature of the communities we serve, it is imperative that our youth programming and initiatives are reflective of our audience. In addition to my passion for EDI advocacy, I am also a Camp nerd and am glad to chat about either.  

Fun Fact: I completed the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro!

Lifeguard, Aquatics Department 
YAC Member - YMCA of SWO


About Me: I have been working in Aquatics at the Y since 2016 but have been involved with the YMCA since my first swim lesson at 3 years old. I love going to my branch to use the fitness floor, play basketball and am now starting to play pickleball too! The Y has been a huge part of my life, and I am happy to be able to wear so many hats at my branch – I particularly love teaching Aquafit. The Y has helped me stay active and engaged in the community over the past 21 years and I hope it will continue to do the same for others.

How Can I Help: As someone who has frequented the Y throughout my entire adolescence and early adult life, I have first-hand experiences with youth engagement at the Y. I am always happy to chat with youth about what they want to see in their branch.

Fun Fact: I am majoring in Criminology at Western and aspire to be a police officer!

If you are interested in learning more about YAC, please contact 

Applications for new members will open in the fall of 2024.