#MyJCCStory: Meet Marty
For some, camp is a summer escape. But for Marty Leaf, it’s his passion.
Marty isn’t a man of many words but his character speaks volumes as he walks down the corridors of JCC.
Marty is a resident of Reena, a home in Thornhill for individuals with developmental disabilities. He grew up going to The Jack and Pat Kay Centre Camp and declares it his second home.
“I love it,” exclaims Marty.
During the summer, Marty is often the first person you’ll see in the morning. His smiling face greets campers at drop off and this happy nature is enough to let you know your child is in good hands.
Marty is a true mentor figure and friend, evidenced by the onslaught of kids that run up to him for a hug or a good laugh.
He keeps old cabin photos in his backpack to show campers and share memories of the years when he too was a camper at this same camp. The nostalgia and excitement that these photos evoke remind him why he continues to reach out and connect with new people.
Marty’s been coming to the JCC for almost 19 years now and enjoys every second. His warm-hearted approach and gentle nature make him one of the most popular figures at camp and his loyalty, passion and involvement won him the prestigious Dan Shulman Community Volunteer Award last year.
As a camp volunteer, he participates in a variety of activities such as swimming, dance, drama and sports. It’s almost as though he’s reliving his own childhood through the work he does.
Marty Leaf’s JCC story is about building a sense of belonging and developing relationships that transcend decades.