Dianne Young has been involved in Camp Ak-O-Mak for over 40 years: first as a camper, then a counsellor and senior staff. It was love at first sight for this perennial Ak-O-Makker when she caught her initial glimpse of camp back in 1971. After dropping her big brother off at Camp Chikopi, an indignant Dianne firmly announced to her parents that she would be attending the girls’ camp next year! And she did. Again and again for ten years.
The late Rosemary Mann Dawson, daughter of founder Matt Mann and Camp Ak-O-Mak’s beloved director for 50 years, intuitively recognized Dianne’s devotion to camp, her love for kids and her strong work ethic. She took “the Youngster” (as Dianne is known by her camp buddies) under her wing and trained her first hand in “all things camp”. She even sent her across the lake to Chikopi (the boys’ camp) for a season where she gained valuable experience by working closely with Owner/Director, Bob Deunkel.
After completing her degree in gemmology, Dianne returned to her hometown of Brantford, Ontario where she is co-owner of J.H. Young Jewellers, the family business since 1900. Her career spans over 30 years and she has been actively involved in all aspects of the jewelry business, currently managing the company’s finances.
Dianne’s first-hand knowledge of the camp and her expertise in business have been critically important in her role as Executive Director. These are challenging times for smaller, private camps in Ontario and many have given way to large, institutional style operations. Dianne’s leadership has been instrumental in continuing the Ak-O-Mak legacy into the 21st century and navigating the numerous challenges inherent in the summer camp business.
Dianne has volunteered decades of her time to Ak-O-Mak to ensure that it continues to thrive for the next generation. As a loyal friend to Buck and Rosemary Dawson and a committed member of the Board of Directors since its inception, Dianne believes in and continues to uphold the founding values of Camp Ak-O-Mak, motivating her to give so much of her time to camp today.