collage of students at work

International Youth Day 2021

Happy International Youth Day!

Students and youth are the lifeblood of our parks — we couldn’t do without them!

Here are just a few stand-out students and youth from around the province:

Cassandra Ziegler

Cassandra teaches campers how to be the best campers they can be at Sibbald Point Provincial Park. Cassandra is a strong team player, and the Learn to Camp program wouldn’t be complete without her.

Katya Arifin

This is Katya’s second year at Ontario Parks, and her first as a gate attendant at Grundy Lake Provincial Park. Katya spends her days providing visitors with excellent customer service, and sharing her vast knowledge of our provincial park system.

Fiona Marshall-Young

Fiona is currently in her first year as a gate attendant at Killbear Provincial Park. Fiona loves welcoming visitors into the park, and in her free time enjoys biking and going to the beach.

Kyle Loucks

Since 2018, Kyle Loucks has been a gate attendant at Port Burwell Provincial Park. This year, Kyle decided to become a part of the maintenance and cleaning team, where the pride in his work continues to shine through. Kyle is meticulous in any job he’s tasked with, and he is a role model to other staff.

Kirsten Schellenberger

This is Kirsten’s first year working for Ontario Parks. Kirsten has been an enthusiastic gate attendant at Kettle Lakes Provincial Park, and enjoys sharing what she has learned about the park with visitors.


Gillian works spiritedly to help keep Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park in great shape. In this photo, she’s helping fill washouts along the roadway caused by a torrential downpour.

Olivia Gaetz

Olivia is the Discovery program department lead at Six Mile Lake Provincial Park. It’s her third year at the park, and she’s also worked in the gate and as a day ranger before joining the programs crew. She spends her days teaching visitors about nature and wildlife, and running activities for families and kids to connect with the environment. Next time you’re visiting Six Mile Lake, stop and say hi!

Hayleigh Hayes-Sheen

In her first year at Kettle Lakes Provincial Park, Hayleigh has proven to be a hard-working and knowledgeable Discovery ranger. She helps visitors experience the park and is always willing to help direct them to her favourite hiking trails or answer their questions.

Mackenzie Beaulac

As a first-year gate attendant at Kettle Lakes Provincial Park, Mackenzie is a team player, always willing to help out her coworkers. She has been great at helping visitors with canoe rentals and keeping a positive atmosphere in the office.

Lindsay North

Lindsay is in her fourth season at Ontario Parks. As the park ambassador, she spends her days teaching visitors new camping skills, providing information about the park, and creating fun and educational Instagram Reels for Learn to Camp. She is excited to share her love for Ontario Parks and camping with others at Earl Rowe Provincial Park!

Jessica Cumming

Jessica is in her second year as a maintenance student, and worked two years before that with the Friends of Bon Echo. She has gone above and beyond this season being a great leader to new staff and her willingness to help others is very much appreciated.

Tyrone Jones

Tyrone has had a terrific transition into the Killbear Provincial Park Discovery team, after working his first season as a gate attendant. He loves educating visitors on the history of the area, and is always eager to explore the park.

Sadie Shelly

Sadie Shelly is a second year gate attendant at Port Burwell Provincial Park.  Sadie’s extensive knowledge of the local area, coupled with her friendly personality and unwavering positive attitude, make her a fantastic addition to our team. She spends her days helping customers, looking after the scooped ice cream, and making sure her coworkers have everything they need to do their jobs!

Julia Slabon

Julia has been a park ranger at Komoka Provincial Park for the past three summers. No matter what she’s working on, Julia leads by example by operating efficiently and safely to serve the needs of our visitors. She is always coming up with innovative ways to complete tasks throughout our vast trail system, such as repurposing ratchet straps as a harness to carry 4×4’s in the woods or using a 65L backpack to carry boardwalk materials deep into the park. Julia’s bright personality, initiative, and dedication make her an essential member of the Komoka team.

Shaunessy Kumka

This is Shaunessy’s first year in the Discovery program after working two seasons as a gate attendant at Killbear Provincial Park. She is always open to trying new things, and sparks joy in everyone she talks to.

Tianna Shank

Tianna has worked with Ontario Parks for four seasons in gate, store, and maintenance positions, and this is her first season at Driftwood. Her kindness and friendly demeanour create a welcoming environment for both staff and visitors to the park. She is always eager to help in any way she can!

Marie Behnke

In her first year as a gate attendant at Bon Echo Provincial Park, Marie has exemplified the outstanding level of customer service that Ontario Parks is known for. Her genuine enthusiasm for helping others experience and explore beautiful Bon Echo shines through in every interaction.

Nicole Guzik

Nicole is in her first season as the Learn to Camp Park ambassador for Killbear Provincial Park. She enjoys educating visitors while on pop-up guided hikes.

Jillian McCormack

Jillian is a Discovery ranger at Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park, and this is her first season with us. Jillian enjoys sharing her love of geology with park visitors. She rocks!


Victoria is a first-year gate attendant at Earl Rowe Provincial Park. We can always count on her to have a big smile on her face when visitors arrive at the park. She greets everyone with a friendly demeanour and a positive attitude. We are so fortunate to have such an amazing gate attendant!

Hannah Bruyns

This is Hannah’s third year as a maintenance worker at Killbear Provincial Park. Her positive attitude and laugh are contagious among her peers. Hannah is excited to come to work every day, no matter what the task.

The West Gate team

Alysa, Kyler, Natalie, Olivia G, Olivia B

Last but not least, this amazing group of young gate attendants display exceptional customer service talents while working in one of the busiest offices across Algonquin Provincial Park!

Natalie Artymko is our team leader at this site, and brings a year of campground gate attendant experience from the Lake of Two Rivers permit office on Highway 60. Natalie always goes above and beyond when it comes to providing excellent customer service and making sure park visitors are provided with accurate information. Natalie can be described as the glue that holds the West Gate team together!

Alysa Cortes brings unique skills and experience to the West Gate this season. Previously, Alysa has worked with Algonquin Outfitters at the Opeongo Lake location, and also has been a reservation agent. Combining her technical computer skills and knowledge of Algonquin’s backcountry, Alysa has proved to be an essential part of the West Gate team!

Olivia Bolger may be new to Algonquin, but she isn’t new to Ontario Parks! A former a gate attendant at Fitzroy Provincial Park, she has seamlessly demonstrated her skills and knowledge to become extremely valuable to the West Gate. Additionally, Olivia brings life-saving skills to the team with her experiences as a lifeguard!

Olivia Gerelus is another new gate attendant at the West Gate., and brings years of service experience, while also finishing up a Bachelor of Education from Trent University. Olivia brings an excellent work ethic and delivers some of the best customer service in the park!

Kyler Thompson is our latest addition to the West Gate team. A Huntsville local, Kyler has spent years working with his family business handling manual labour jobs. Additionally, Kyler’s educational experiences equipped him with knowledge of Police Foundations from Sir Sandford Fleming College, and hopes to use this to expand his career with Ontario Parks. Maybe we will see him as a Park Warden one day!

Without the “Best Gate” team, Algonquin Provincial Park would not be the same — thank you, West Gate team!

A huge thank you to all the student and youth staff who make our parks such special places to work and visit!