Staff

Photo of Karen Bast
Karen Bast
Guelph Satellite Director Highlands Youth for Christ

Karen has been with YFC since 2005.  Beginning as a youth worker in Centre Wellington and doing a variety of things from coaching volleyball to assisting in the Alternative Education classroom, she suddenly found herself leading from centre stage as Satellite Director for Guelph YFC, Highlands’ newest satellite.  Karen is passionate about seeing God at work in the lives of people – youth or adults – and loves that YFC provides opportunities for youth to be reached and adult volunteers to GO…out of their comfort zones and bring light to dark places.  The rest of Karen’s time is filled with being on mission in the Willow area of Guelph with her 3 kids, Chloe, Liam and Laurel and her churchplanting husband, James.  In quiet times she enjoys knitting anything out of 100% natural fibres.

Photo of Holly Blokzyl
Holly Blokzyl
Executive Assistant Highlands Youth For ChristHighlands Office

Holly has been involved with YFC for many years. She has been involved with almost all of the events YFC hosts either as a teen or volunteer. Holly has volunteered at the Grand Valley and Orangeville Door locations and been involved with different programs in each. She has helped as a temporary office person for many years when needed.

Holly and her husband Brendan have four children Silas, Liliana, Levi and Josiah. They currently live in the Shelburne area with Brendan’s parents.

Photo of Jeremy Brydges
Jeremy Brydges
Orangeville Door Coordinator Highlands Youth for Christ

Jeremy has been involved with Highlands YFC since 1998. The last several years Jeremy has been on staff working with The Door, Street Level and Campus Life. He was first introduced to YFC in grade seven at one of the many after school clubs run throughout the week. A few years later in high school, Jeremy joined the Orangeville YFC Drama team. He started to gain an appreciation for life and himself, learning about God along the way, and eventually about seven years after he walked through the YFC door, he dedicated his heart to Christ. Shortly after high school, he came back for a volunteer position that quickly turned into a staff position. Now, with your help, Jeremy is helping to provide paths of hope and restoration that were once offered to him. Jeremy is married to Candice Kaitting, whom he met through YFC.

Photo of Doug Calder
Doug Calder
Door Director, Centre Wellington Highlands Youth for Christ

Doug, a long-time Fergus YFC volunteer, joined our staff team in October 2011 as our new Director. Doug is helping to get our satellite more well-known in the community and to prepare Centre Wellington for the future as we look into becoming our own chapter.  Doug connects easily with guys, and girls love his father’s heart for them.  Doug is particularly gifted with mentoring young men and has kept connected with several of The Door’s youth from 8-10 years ago.  Doug is directing Centre Wellington YFC part-time right now as he works on raising his salary.  He is looking for partners in this area. When Doug is not @ The Door, he is probably working on his farm, where he is the 5th generation living there with his wife, Sandi and 3 kids, Sarah, Josh & Rebecca.

Photo of Kelly Culp
Kelly Culp
Erin Door Director Highlands Youth for Christ

Kelly is Erin’s Door Director which is a catch-all for someone who does everything.  Kelly came to The Door as a student working on her placement from Loyalist College, fell in love with it and never left.  Currently, Kelly’s schedule is packed with participating in or running different programs like Drop-In, Project Serve and Campus Life. Other than working at The Door, Kelly loves to spend time with her family, friends, and neighbours, swimming, biking, hiking, and pretty much anything else outside, as well as spending time with her church.

Photo of Jennifer Gerrior
Jennifer Gerrior
Door Director, Stayner Highlands Youth for Christ
Jen grew up in Stayner and has a passion for helping out the community. A former graphic designer, she has been working with HYFC for 3 years as Director of The Door in Stayner.  Jennifer has her NEOS certificate in Youth Ministry. The Stayner Door offers many programs including Drop In, Art, Music, Movies, Project Serve and Girls Club, with more in development.
Photo of Lesley Graham
Lesley Graham
Highlands YFC Bookkeeper Highlands Youth for Christ
Photo of James Hunt
James Hunt
Door Director, Huntsville Highlands Youth for Christ

James is a newbie to YFC, having just been hired as Director of The Door in Huntsville this past November. His background includes Pastoral Intern/Youth Ministry Director/Worship Team member & all ’round Minion at his home church, church-planter training through Missiochurch, and several years of serving local youth through a variety of volunteer activities. James has also launched an innovative multi-media approach to fundraising which so far has led to exciting results.

“This is exactly what God has been building me towards. I’m excited by this new opportunity to serve both God and Huntsville’s at risk youth, mainly because I was one of those kids. I spent my teen years running the streets of Huntsville and I made a lot of bad lifestyle choices. Those choices led to a very troubled and painful adulthood until a few years ago when God grabbed a hold of me and turned my life around. Now I have the chance to share my experiences with the street kids of today – to speak some wisdom and compassion into their lives. I love these kids because I see myself in them. My dream is to help steer them away from making the same mistakes that I did. I want to show them that they have the ability to shape better futures for themselves. And I intend to do this through modelling God’s love in a very real and practical way.”

Photo of Ann McCallum
Ann McCallum
Executive Director Highlands Youth for Christ
Ann has been Executive Director of Highlands YFC since November, 1995. Her previous experience as a Campus Life worker for 8 years in Hamilton, along with her 13 years of experience as a legal secretary, brought a blend of youth work and administration to the position at Highlands. Ann has the distinction of being the first female Executive Director in Canada, and along with her supervisory and administrative duties she is still actively involved in the Orangeville Campus Life program. Ann lives in Grand Valley, Ontario with her husband Keith, and has 3 children: Holly, Joshua and Joel, and two amazing grandchildren, Silas & Liliana.
Photo of Mandy McCallum (Johnson)
Mandy McCallum (Johnson)
Door Director, Shelburne Highlands Youth for Christ

Mandy originally hails from Calgary, AB.  A bona fide country girl, she loves the outdoors and is maybe a wee bit too adventurous for her own good.  However, she has an incredible love and passion for working with youth. This was developed during a yearlong internship in Northern Ireland with YFC.  Following NI-Mandy returned to Alberta and five months later drove to Ontario to start work in Shelburne with Highlands YFC. Mandy is incredibly excited about the future and feels blessed to be a part of an organization that is so much like family.

Photo of John Oorebeek
John Oorebeek
Door Director, Grand Valley Highlands Youth for Christ

John has been with YFC since the ark arrived on land. He and his wife Marg live in Grand Valley and run a boarding house by the beautiful Grand River. When John is not busy renovating the Grand Valley Door Youth Centre, he can often be found knitting alongside the riverbank, reflecting on how much God loves him.

Photo of Paula Pothemont
Paula Pothemont
Arthur Door Director Highlands Youth for Christ

Having volunteered with Youth Unlimited, Toronto, at their residential camps and seeing our young people mature in their personality, character, talents and faith in Jesus – the Way, the Truth and the Life, has been a most rewarding thrill…

My first encounters with YFC – Jamaica, doing street and community evangelism, birthed a strong sense of outreach, believing that in Christ we can do all things.  Many adults sowed into my life as a young person, and I would love to continue encouraging our youth so that they can have hope for the future, whether living in an urban or rural area.

Reading, listening to music, swimming and walking are so some things that I do for fun and relaxation.  Christian Singles (again) events have also added many adventures to my social life.  My adult kids need to book me in advance…

Photo of Anna Reilly
Anna Reilly
Door/StreetLevel Youth Worker, Orangeville Highlands Youth for Christ

As of August 31st 2017 Anna has resigned from her position with Highlands YFC.

Photo of Andrea Robinson
Andrea Robinson
Centre Wellington Youth Worker Highlands Youth for Christ

More to come!

Photo of Chad Sheridan
Chad Sheridan
Angus Door Director Highlands Youth for Christ

The Lord has been leading me to Highland YFC’s Door Youth Centre in Angus for quite some time now. From the age of 13 or 14 through to my mid to late 20’s I was in full rebellion against the Church, and made nothing but poor and destructive decisions.  This led to a lot of burnt bridges and hurt people, including myself.  Since returning to Christ, and experiencing what it is to truly come to know Him, I have experienced a sense of peace and happiness that I never thought possible. I have felt deeply burdened with sharing the wisdom, peace and love that God provides with youth that may be at risk of going down similar roads.  I believe God intends to use my experiences to help me connect with these kids and guide them in such a way as to avoid the pain and struggles, so that they can have a better and brighter and more fulfilling life through knowing Him.

 

Photo of Jonathan Smith
Jonathan Smith
Satellite Director, Orangeville Highlands Youth for Christ

Jonathan (also known as JF) has been the jack-in-the-box for JOrangeville YFC just for joy. He juggles soup with jam, juice and jelly in the Door kitchen incorporating gastronomically incorrect ingredients wearing a jolly jumper. Jocular Jonathan is jealous for janitors so the jolly joker jogs to his job. Jonathan is judicious and doesn’t jest about juveniles joining JYFC for the journey to be more like Jesus – no joke!

Photo of Mark Stromenberg
Mark Stromenberg
Guelph Drop In & Guys Ministry Director Highlands Youth for Christ

Mark has been with Youth For Christ since 2008, serving as a volunteer in Strathroy and on staff in Cambridge, where he ran concerts, small groups, & drop-in. His passion is for those who are hurting, broken, and left-out. As the new Drop-In & Guys Ministry Director, he hopes to see the reach and impact of Guelph YFC reach into new neighbourhoods and to new students.

Mark is also an ASIST suicide intervention trainer, and speaks regularly on issues of mental health to students and ministry leaders.

Mark, and his wife, Ashley, currently live in Cambridge, where Ashley works as the Engage! coordinator for Youth For Christ Canada.

Photo of Amy Thompson
Amy Thompson
Door Director, Alliston Highlands Youth for Christ

Amy and her husband Jason moved to New Tecumseth as newlyweds ten years ago.  This year they welcomed their first child Brianna into their lives.  Amy is excited to be the Director of the Door after working in social services for the past decade.   Amy and her family attend Faith Community Church and love serving in the community.  Although she confesses God did not bless her with any musical talent she attempts to play the viola and violin and has mastered Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  She loves spending time with family across Ontario and feels blessed to now be serving the youth of Alliston.

Photo of Aaron & Danielle White
Aaron & Danielle White
Campus Life Director & Door Director, Collingwood Highlands Youth for Christ

Aaron and Danielle joined Collingwood YFC in 2007. Aaron returned to his YFC roots after meeting Danielle in college, and now oversees our Campus Life program, where he regularly partners with our schools, and is building deep relationships with our youth. Danielle returned to her hometown of Collingwood to become the Director of The Door Youth Centre, where she has a passion for reaching youth from our community, especially those who are in need of extra support. Aaron and Danielle are also involved in Project Serve, as they see the potential of many youth who have an opportunity to serve the world around them. When they are not spending time with the young people of Collingwood, Aaron can be found travelling the province with turntables and headphones in hand as he uses his skills as a DJ to reach young people with the Gospel. Danielle is most often found outside, usually with skis, a mountain bike, a kayak, hiking boots, or her snowshoes, with her camera in hand.

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