Airdrie resident feels most comfortable with who she is at the Club
A look inside: The Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie
The Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie (BGC) is Airdronian Nicole Gavel’s safe place.
Gavel, now 19, moved to Airdrie 10 years ago and started attending BGC summer camps and after-school programming at the Allen Street location.
She never looked back.
“I liked it so much I have been involved with the club since,” she said.
Gavel later became involved with the club’s Torch and Keystone programs, youth leadership programs that give students the opportunity to plan events from the beginning to the end, including fundraising and organizing.
After years of attending and volunteering, Gavel is now a staff member and works in the club’s after school program.
She is running new Keystone groups in Beiseker and Crossfield.
She loves her job.
“I like that every day I am making an impact,” said Gavel.
“I just love kids and youth, I work well with them. I live to see their faces and hear their stories. Kids are very honest.
“I love that every day I wake and I want to go to work.”
The recent George McDougall High School graduate is also working towards earning her bachelor’s degree in social work with the ultimate goal of being and youth outreach worker.
Gavel’s future didn’t always look so secure.
She was a foster kid, who lived with her birth mother for only three years, between the ages of six and nine. Although she is grateful for the many opportunities it afforded her, being removed from her mother’s home by social services at the age of nine was difficult for Gavel.
“Being in foster care was really hard because I was going in and out of homes and I never really knew where I belonged,” she said.
That’s where the BGC came in, welcoming Gavel and giving her opportunities to share her experiences and, ultimately, become the confident woman she now is.
“I always knew (BGC staff) accepted me for who I was,” she said.
“I felt the most comfortable with myself there. If I ever needed someone, I know they would be there.”
Gavel attributes her success to her involvement with the club and wishes more Airdrie and area youth of all backgrounds would make the BGC a part of their lives.
“People think the BGC is for underprivileged kids, and that’s not true at all,” she said.
“The people there are the most helpful people you will ever find and they will help you grow. It’s not supposed to be about who you know, what you have, what you wear, it’s about having fun.
“(The BGC) has so much to offer. You might as well check it out.”
Gavel is confident her life will have an impact on youth and is thankful for the many opportunities she has as a result of her upbringing and involvement with the BGC.
“I know a ton of other foster kids and they don’t know what they will be doing,” she said.
“I know in four years I will have my degree, I will have a job. As long as I am helping people that is all I have ever wanted.”