The New Brunswick Association for Community Living welcomed Sarah Wagner into the position of Executive Director in early July. Sarah previously worked as the Association’s Director of Programs, and has been with NBACL since 2014. She grew up in Fredericton and has lived most of her life there.
When asked when her interest in the type of work done at NBACL began, Sarah replied that it started back in her teens during her time at Camp Glenburn, located on the Kingston Peninsula in southern New Brunswick.
“The camp was such an inclusive place. Kids from all walks of life were there, and everyone just immediately got along, playing the same games and staying in the same cabins. As a camper, I was friends with other children who could have had intellectual disabilities, and as a counsellor I likely worked with some who did as well. But the camp really upheld its vision of inclusivity – everyone was on even footing, just there as campers and kids.”
Sarah kept her focus on the inclusive community she saw at the camp as she moved on to university, earning a Bachelor of Recreation Management from Acadia University and a Masters in Sport and Recreation Studies from UNB.
These experiences have helped shape her vision for NBACL.
“We need to continue spreading our reach so we can touch the lives of more individuals and support them, and create stronger partnerships in the community. The goal is to reach a point where more inclusive and welcoming places are popping up naturally, with New Brunswick’s communities working towards a future where there is effortless inclusion.”
While this is an idea of what the coming years will look like for NBACL, the road towards this vision might end up being a rocky one. Sarah knew right away what has helped her push through hard times.
“It’s the families. We have some really impressive parents, who are essentially like the torchbearers of this movement. Celebrate every little success, and even the simplest things we do to help are enough motivation for me personally. Staff, the parents, families, and children in our network need to be recognized for all of the tireless work they do.”
In her spare time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. Ever a fan of the outdoors, ideally she’d be hiking, swimming or camping with them on a day off.