Christine Beaudet, a South Side High School senior, was named Volunteer of the Year at Camp Anchor for 2013.
“Christine is a volunteer who has been described by her past group leaders as remarkable, flawless and a ‘model volunteer,’” said Mindy Reyer, volunteer coordinator at Camp Anchor. “She is extremely loyal and dedicated to the Anchor Program.”
Beaudet, 16, began volunteering at Camp Anchor during her freshman year at South Side High School, following in the footsteps of her older siblings, Leah and Brian. She has volunteered in each summer and winter program since.
“To say that it’s the greatest place on earth is an understatement,” said Beaudet. “It’s probably one of the most rewarding jobs you could ever have.”
This summer, Beaudet served as a group leader for approximately 20 autistic boys in their teenage years, and in past summers worked with groups of 5- to 9-year-olds with Down syndrome. She has worked with children with special needs since she was in middle school, when she volunteered in the Best Buddies program, which pairs volunteers with special needs children in order to create lasting friendships, and Topsoccer, a program that affords special needs children the opportunity to learn and play soccer.
“[Christine] is a volunteer with endless patience, compassion and heart,” said Reyer. “Our participants adore and highly respect her. She’s a confident leader who has recently been promoted to a staff position.”
According to Reyer, Camp Anchor’s volunteer of the year is selected at the end of each summer from a group of nominees. Volunteers are nominated by group leaders — in Beaudet’s case, by a former leader, Anna McGovern — and must have exceptional evaluations over the course of their time at Anchor in order to qualify. The recipient is awarded a plaque on Volunteer Night, an awards dinner and dance for the volunteers held at the end of the summer program and paid for by the parents of campers.
Traditionally, past Volunteers of the Year return for that night to join the current Volunteer as he or she receives their award. This year, Caitlin Schwagerl, who was the recipient of last year’s award, joined Beaudet as she received her plaque.
“It was a complete surprise,” Beaudet said about receiving her award. “They didn’t tell me, they didn’t warn me. My mom didn’t know.”
When asked about her upcoming college experience, Beaudet said she wasn’t sure yet where she hoped to go or what she hoped to do. But one thing is certain: she has no intention of leaving Camp Anchor.
“Everything we do, they appreciate,” she said. “They say that it might be so much work for the volunteers and staff, but it’s all worth it. Because they provide us with so much love… And to see the happiness and joy they achieve from such simple things, it makes you just love it even more.”