Taylor Anderson was no stranger to the Cam's Kids organization when she began her studies at Carleton University. In fact, the Health Sciences student had known Cam Hicks personally after going to school together in their mutual hometown of Uxbridge, Ontario.
So, when she crossed paths with Carleton's (then) Cam's Kids leader and was asked about becoming an ambassador, it was an easy answer.
“I ran into the lead ambassador on my way to class and we started talking about Cam's Kids and what she was doing at the University. I was already entertaining the idea of joining the group, so I applied as soon as I could,” Anderson recalls.
Anderson now heads the Carleton campus chapter, having assumed the lead role at the start of her most recent school year. She and her team of 20 Cam's Kids ambassadors have kept busy spearheading awareness programs, setting up Cam's Kids booths at on-campus events, helping with local golf and volleyball tournaments, and bringing Cam's Kids national initiatives to the Ottawa campus such as the always-popular Candy Cane campaign.
“I was hesitant to take the position at first because I didn't want to overload my plate, but the co-lead Erica and I have shared the responsibility. I'm glad I did because it's been very rewarding to plan these initiatives and get involved with other groups on campus to create more resources and support systems for students who may be dealing with anxiety, depression, or stress,” she says.
Anderson and her team have also sought partnerships with several related organizations, including the school's Student Mental Health Engagement Committee and Bell Canada's Let's Talk campus campaign. The idea, she says, is to ensure Carleton University students know about Cam's Kids and that they're not alone if facing mental health challenges: “We have people coming up to us who have personal experiences with anxiety and want to be a part of what we're doing. So to know you're getting out there and making a difference is amazing.”
Anderson is proud to honour a former classmate and friend, and to help build a Cam's Kids community at Carleton. Asked to share words of wisdom for others who wish to get involved with Cam's Kids, she offers, “Put in as much time as you can because you'll get so much out of it. Between all the different events and initiatives we do there's always something for everyone, and all the ambassadors you meet along the way are amazing.”
“You really learn a lot,” she adds. “It opens your eyes.”