The Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration awarded True Friends volunteer, Sierra Hietala, with the 2014 Outstanding High School Volunteer for her work with camp.

Congratulations, Sierra!

Sierra's MAVA award These awards recognize Minnesota volunteers who have distinguished accomplishments
and have shown extraordinary interest in the area of volunteerism. These volunteers, through their personal examples, demonstrate the impact volunteers can have on the improvement of their community through an outstanding commitment to volunteerism.

While all of our volunteers make a difference, Sierra stands out from the crowd. Sierra began volunteering the summer of 2013 at Camp Friendship and although she was nervous and unsure, in the time since then, she’s grown so much and become an important part of camp.

To date, Sierra has volunteered 579 hours with True Friends by the way of 5 weeks of Summer Camp, 1 week of Winter Camp, and multiple Respite weekends. Every time Sierra steps onto camp she is outgoing and excited to work with staff, meet the other volunteers, but most importantly, give campers the best camp experience possible.

Camp changes without notice and staff and volunteers need to not only be adaptive, but to keep a positive attitude during it all; Sierra does that with every change that’s thrown her way. At 15 years old, Sierra’s fun and positive energy is balanced with confidence, maturity, and compassion that sets a high standard for our other youth volunteers.

Recently, Sierra told me a story about some classmates using the r-word around her. A friend (who hasn’t been at camp) spoke up and called them out about it because they know about Sierra’s volunteer work. She is an advocate for change and acceptance, without even having to say anything. This seemingly small conversation in a high school hallway is the impact we at True Friends hope to have across the board; our volunteers making a difference not only for our campers while at camp, but everywhere they go. Sierra is the proof of that.