Volunteer profile – Pam Stumpf

ELORA – Kristen Bettiol, the township of Centre Wellington’s manager of community development, is passionate about promoting volunteerism. 

As part of the township’s new Community Connect program, Bettiol and The Advertiser chose Pam Stumpf for their first volunteer profile.

“Pam is so relatable to so many different people. I first met Pam almost 20 years ago at the 6am daily work out at a new gym in town,” Bettiol said.

“She didn’t know me, but she was finishing her set while watching everyone else and cheering them on. When she was done, she didn’t reach for water without making sure the person that was struggling the most was not feeling alone.

“That is genuinely how she lives life. She is thoughtful and generous, caring and deeply connected to our community.”

When Bettiol was executive director at Big Brothers Big Sisters Centre Wellington, she said Pam “came first as a board member but stayed as a mentor to several youth who absolutely adore her.”

“She cannot bake to save her life but rolls up her sleeves when her mentees want to cook, bake, craft or play games and feels like she is selfishly getting more out of their time together than the kids,” Bettiol said.

“She literally lights up rooms and when you are with Pam, you feel like you can do anything – finish endless rounds of burpees, take on major capital campaigns, go through life’s challenges, thrive in a pandemic or just bake a batch of cookies. She is a gift.”

Pam’s husband John Stumpf said, “It is apparent how much it means to her to volunteer. I’m so proud to see and hear Pam light up when talking about the various events she volunteers at, and I know the difference she is making in our community.”

Pam, who was raised in Toronto, met Stumpf at a wedding in Elora. “I’d never heard of Elora,” she said. After she and Stumpf married, they decided to move to Elora in 2000. 

Her career with Loblaw’s involved a lot of travel, and she didn’t really get to explore and enjoy the area until she left the corporate world and started her own business, Refreshed & Refined Interiors, in 2018.

In one of her first experiences volunteering locally, she said, “I was making phone calls for Bowl for Kids to all these businesses I didn’t even know we had.”

“It was a real eye-opener. I learned we live in a beautiful community with incredibly generous and supportive businesses.”

Having volunteered at a Boys and Girls Club in Toronto, Pam wanted to find something similar in the community after she started working from home. After a member of the Board of Directors at Guelph BBBS reached out to Pam, Stumpf suggested she contact Kristen Bettiol.

BBBS Centre Wellington

Pam was delighted to find out there was a Centre Wellington BBBS. “I kind of jumped full in,” she said. “I joined all the committees; we had our gala and bowl for kids.” 

A few months after joining, she was asked to step in as vice-chair. “I was just really invested in learning and doing whatever I could to make the agency as strong and involved in the community as it could be.”

Pam took the position of chair just as COVID shutdowns started.

“Running a not-for-profit organization during a global pandemic is not easy,” Pam said. 

“Somehow during all the different challenges, I managed to lead a board that was just so engaged – all they wanted to do was help. In turn, that really resonated with the community and the community just stepped aboard. They were incredible.” 

Part of the success could be attributed to the on-boarding process Pam helped to establish, because it was “a serious, but inclusive process,” she said.

Potential board members were asked why they wanted to volunteer.

 “Hearing their stories was very interesting. Some had a Big Sister or a Big Brother when they were growing up and it changed their lives. And so, this is their way of giving back.”

Garagemahal and BBBSCW

During a board meeting in 2018 at the Stumpf home, the need for male mentors was being discussed. John apologized for overhearing the conversation, but he had an idea. The first Garagemahal took place that summer. 

“The Garagemahal event’s goal is to bring people together and create awareness of how anyone can become involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters,” Pam said. 

Attendees enjoy “complimentary delicious food, local beverages, scotch and cigars,” Pam explained.

“The main event is a car show that features a mix of hypercars, exotic cars, supercars and sports cars.

“The Garagemahal has created a platform where Big Brothers like Mason Melitzer and Bryan Paul have spoken to share why they decided to become Big Brothers,” Pam said.

Tickets to this year’s DJ’d event, to be held on June 20, are available now.

“I think back to our first year in 2018,” John Stumpf said. “11 cars, 33 people, and $1,500 raised.  In 2023 we had 40 cars, 204 attendees and raised $22,000.  Since the event’s inception we have raised over $105k for BBBSCW.” 

Stumpf is proud of what they have accomplished “in six short years in terms of money raised.” He is “just as proud of the fact that the event educates the community,” and that their efforts “convert into real Big Brothers and Big Sisters in our community.”

 Pam added, “With an ever-growing wait list for Bigs, there is still more to be done.”

Pam has worked with four Little’s in the past five years as an in-school mentor. “I have two right now that I absolutely love,” she said.

They meet every Wednesday. “I’m blocked off for that time. I will not miss it!”

“I’m not a baker,” Pam said with a laugh. “But every single one of my little girls loves to bake. I have a cupboard that has baking stuff, because every Wednesday they’re going to want to bake something. So, we made a list of what we’re doing for the month. Tonight, I’ll be getting ready for tomorrow.”

Pam’s enthusiasm and the joy she experiences being a mentee is apparent in her expressions and in her voice. 

“I think I learn more from them than they do from me,” she said.

Tears formed in her eyes as she recalled one of her mentees running down the hall to meet her, “I got so emotional,” she said. “She’d just had some surgery and had braces on her legs.” 

Both of Pam’s current mentees will be entering Grade 9 in the fall where the program does not continue. And after two and a half years, they are all sad to say goodbye, Pam said.

Community involvement

Last summer, Pam helped Habitat for Humanity Guelph Wellington decorate the townships’ Gartshore farmhouse. She also helped with sponsorship for the local historic farmhouse that will be used to house resident and locum doctors working at Groves Memorial Community Hospital.

 She volunteers for Michael House, a shelter in Guelph that provides support to pregnant and parenting mothers and their children in need. 

In the spring of 2023, Pam joined the Groves Hospital Foundation Board.

“Until you’re actually really in it, you don’t realize the needs of the hospital, and that every little bit makes a difference,” she said.

“Small donations of $5 or $10 add up.”

As a hospital board member, she likes volunteer for different organizations, like Fergus-Elora Rotary.

“I was a runner selling tickets. Bingo was so much fun,” she said.

As a member of Centre Wellington 100 Women Who Care (CW 100WWC) since its first meeting in 2020, Pam continues to advocate for BBBSCW. 

The CW 100WWC chapter, founded by Tracy Bachly, holds four meetings annually. At each, members commit $100, and can nominate a local charity. Three charities are randomly selected and then presented by the nominating members. After voting, one of the charities receives all money raised. 

“BBBSCW was the first charity to win it,” Pam said. 

She continues to nominate BBBSCW and has presented five times. “I reach out to Brad (Mulligan, current executive director) to see what needs to be supported.” 

Pam is also closely involved with Aboyne Hospice. She presented and secured the win for the hospice at a recent CW 100WWC meeting.

Staying informed

“There are so many different reasons why I get involved in the community. Selfishly, it feels great, but it’s to keep myself informed and to meet the people in our community. It’s to help connect people in need with the people in the community that can help.”

“Volunteering is not a lifetime commitment,” Pam said. “You will never know if you enjoy doing something until you try.” But she said it is important to do some research.

“Look into the different opportunities to find out what fits your lifestyle and your schedule. Ask yourself why you want to volunteer. Do you enjoy working with youth, sitting on committees, leadership roles?”

“There are more agencies looking for volunteers than you would think.” 

For Pam, having the opportunity to “play a role in influencing change to ensure programs stay strong and relevant” is important. 

She hopes she is a positive role model to her mentees. “BBBS is my passion. My heart feels full whenever I leave a meeting. My Little Sisters make me smile!”

Lorie Black