I am a police officer in the City of Woodstock, Ontario and in March of 2013 I decided to become involved in the Big Brothers organization as a mentor to a 10 year old boy Anthony. After completing the application and background process I met Anthony’s mother. She expressed a need for somebody to show and teach Anthony how to do “guy things”, and at the time I thought, perfect because I just so happen to be a guy who likes to do “guy things”.
I remember meeting Anthony for the first time at the Big Brother’s office that afternoon in late March. I was running a little late as I had been on a tactical officer course in Waterloo. It just so happened that the day I was to meet my new little friend, I was exposed to tear gas and being fogged with pepper as part of my training. It was truly a bitter sweet day. I provided some advanced warning that I may not look the best as my face and eyes were still suffering the lasting effects of the exposures. Despite my rosy complexion, Anthony did not seem to mind and we hit it off from the get go. We compared our interests and talked about some potential outings.
What we do…
I have now been Anthony’s big brother for almost five years already. The time has flown by and we have gone on all different types of outings including, bowling at C&D lanes, canoeing on Lake Pittock, soccer in the park, biking the trails, trips to the movies, video gaming sessions, sledding at the hill in Southside, tubing at Boler Mountain, catching a London Knight’s game at Budweiser Gardens, and of course my personal favourite – numerous trips to the driving range at the Woodstock Meadows. With no prior golfing experience, Anthony recently took his new found golf game to the course and did quite well. Much like the progression of his golf skills it has been remarkable to observe his personal progress as well. In the 18 months that we have been matched I have seen Anthony’s personality develop and his confidence grow.
Anthony has also been over to my house and last summer helped me build a climber / swing set for my kids. He instantly became a fan favourite with my children because he was now known as “daddy’s friend who helped build our new climber”. It just so happens that Anthony’s favourite meal is also my oldest daughter’s – tacos. And speaking of food, you can’t do all these activities and outings on an empty stomach so we love grabbing a bite together too. Trips to Dairy Queen in the summer, Five Guys burgers and fries, McDonald’s and watching Anthony demolish a so called bottomless bag of popcorn at the Bud Gardens. Although I have worked in Woodstock for 12 years now, Anthony also introduced me to something new last summer – Fritzie’s legendary cheese burgers and chocolate shakes.
What it means…
Being Anthony’s Big Brother is truly an honour that I hold in high regard. Being matched with Anthony has been so much fun and rewarding at the same time. Being a Big Brother is much more than just another volunteer position, it is a connection made for life and a worthwhile investment in a young person.