Goodbye Neil and Thank You!

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We would like to thank and recognize a special volunteer, Neil Yee, who has put in hundreds if not thousands of hours since 2012 to help us teach new Canadians and all of our participants how to cross-country ski, ice skate and love winter, and who has also helped us lead numerous biking and hiking outings.

Neil originally hails from Colorado and has been enjoying sharing outdoor recreation with other newcomers to Montreal. Neil is always ready to make people feel included and make outdoor recreation accessible to all, including people who are new to Canada and haven’t had the chance to discover winter sports.

Neil is an exceptional hockey player and ice skater and has taught many of our participants how to skate, from the basics to fancy moves, and especially how to tighten their skates properly. After a long hiatus, Neil started cross-country skiing again while living in Montreal, and has shared his advice, techniques and enthusiasm with many of us.

He patiently brought up the rear of our biking group and hiking groups, taking spectacular and contemplative photos along the way.

Neil has also spent countless hours rescuing and repairing used ski equipment, switching bindings and mixing and matching boots, and rescuing used skates from Renaissance, keeping this gear out of landfills and making it available for our program and participants. He is also deeply committed to promoting car-free outdoor recreation and is always encouraging our participants to visit various outdoor sites and parks that are accessible by bus, bike or train, having already tested most routes himself.

At the end of April, Neil will be fulfilling a dream to move to a remote location in the Yukon where he will finally be able to do some ‘real’ skiing. This is just one of his many interesting and non-conventional milestones in life.

Neil is not just a volunteer; he has become a great friend and we will miss him immensely. Neil, thank you for everything you have given to our community.

And thank you to all of our volunteers, donors, colleagues, friends and participants, for your time, energy and support. We really couldn’t do it without you. Thanks to those who came help us say goodbye and good luck to Neil at our potluck on April 10th!

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