The Ten Oaks Project is a community-based, charitable organization led by a small staff team and volunteer board of directors.
- Kymani – Acting Executive Director
- Jude – Community Engagement Coordinator
- Ollie – Families in Transition Facilitator
- Iylah – Families in Transition Facilitator
- A – Families in Transition Facilitator
Board of Directors
Acting Executive Director
Kymani (any pronouns) is a Black, queer, immigrant who has worked with children and youth for over 10 years. With a background in political science and education, Kymani strives to help children and youth have difficult conversations about racism, gender, sexuality, and class. He wants to bring recreation and camping to communities that have been historically shut out. Kymani has worked in both overnight and day camps in Canada, the USA, and Switzerland. In his free time, he enjoys video games, painting, unsuccessful baking, and reading Black feminist authors.
Community Engagement Coordinator
Families in Transition Facilitator
Ollie (they/them) is a trans, genderqueer, Anglo-white settler who resides on unceded, unsurrendered Algonquin Territory. Ollie has been a part of so-called Ottawa’s trans and queer organizing space since 2018 when they moved here. They have been a part of SAEFTY (Support And Education For Trans Youth) facilitation and advocacy team. Ollie helped publish and publicly advocate on SAEFTYs report on the experiences of trans and gender diverse youth at CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario) gender diversity clinic. They advocate for the depathologization of trans identities, for trans children’s rights, and for improved gender-affirming care. Ollie finished their master’s in Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton University in 2022. Their master’s work focused on how trans and gender diverse youth are portrayed in media related to the CHEO gender diversity clinic and how trans youth are understood through their analysis of medical and community studies on trans youth receiving medical care. In their spare time, Ollie enjoys reading literature that challenges colonialism and capitalism and trying new caramel oat lattes from local coffee shops.
Iylah (they/them) is a trans nonbinary community organizer who facilitates Ten Oaks Project’s Families in Transition program. They work passionately creating affirming and accessible spaces for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth, providing meaningful and compassionate support for families of queer and trans* kids, and advocating for the rights of marginalized communities in education and healthcare. In their spare time, they enjoy playing tabletop roleplay games and spending time with their two adorable nephews.
A. (they/he) is a visual artist, writer and researcher originally from Ghana and Lesotho and based in Toronto. Their work explores questions of home, (in)visibility, liminality and (un)belonging as they relate to Black queer and trans* African diasporic subjectivity.
Rosella (she/her) is a Black/biracial, queer, first-generation settler living and working on unceded Algonquin Territory. She has worked as a strategic communications specialist across the non-profit sector for more than a decade and holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree, with combined honours in Law, from Carleton University.
Rosella joined the board in 2019 – inspired by friends in the Ten Oaks Project (TOP) family and the organization’s vital work to ensure children and youth from 2SLGBTQ+ communities thrive. As someone who is rarely, if ever, described as “outdoorsy,” Rosella was thrilled to discover what a joyful and affirming space TOP’s camp and other programs are for folks with all levels of outdoors experience. In her second term on the board, she’s passionate about strengthening the organization’s impact for young people and collaborations with other community organizations working for justice and safer, stronger communities. Alongside her duties as Vice-President, Rosella serves as a chair of TOP’s Fundraising Committee.
Ryan (he/him) moved to Ottawa in 2002 to attend Carleton University completing his degree in political science in 2006. Growing up in a small town Ryan cares deeply about ensuring people have opportunities and resources to succeed in a welcoming and inclusive environment. Organizing and volunteering many community-oriented events and fundraising activities, Ryan brings this experience to the Board of Directors of Ten Oaks.
Ryan has nearly two decades of experience working on Parliament Hill with Members of Parliament and Ministers and currently serves as Director of Communications, Parliamentary Affairs and Issues Management.
Tara (she/her) fell in love with Ten Oaks at the first Bowl-a-Thon she attended. Growing up she went to summer camps in Manitoba with a lot of mosquitos and not a lot of 2SLGBTQ+ celebration. She is so glad that children, youth and families now have a space like Ten Oaks.
In her day job Tara works as the National Representative on Domestic Violence at Work for the Canadian Labour Congress. A long-time activist, Tara previously worked at progressive think tanks and NGOs in Canada and in the United Kingdom. Her writing on gender, social justice, and 2SLGBTQ+ politics has appeared in the National Post, the Globe and Mail, CBC News, the Fabian Review and rabble.ca. Tara holds a BA (Honours) in Political Science and Gender Studies from the University of Victoria, and a Masters of Public Policy and an MSc in Geography from the University of Oxford. She lives in Ottawa with her partner and their plants.
Miguel (he/him) is a Franco-Ontarian that has always called Ottawa his home. He joined the Board in the Fall of 2021, motivated from his experience of attending several camps in his childhood and working as a camp counsellor throughout early adulthood. Miguel is an active in several Ottawa-based inclusive organizations, including being a member of the Ottawa Wolves inclusive rugby club, the Ottawa Queer Softball League, and Gay Ottawa Volleyball. Professionally, Miguel works as policy analyst for the federal government and holds a B.Hum in Humanities and Religion, and M.A. in International Affairs. He is also a proud father of two.
Mike (he/him) moved to Ottawa in 2008 from Montréal, completing his Masters in Public Policy and Public Administration and pursuing a career in the Federal public service. Working primarily in children’s health promotion, he actively contributes to the healthy development of vulnerable and marginalized children, as well as their families. This has included promoting
He has been an active member of the Ten Oaks community since 2013 and currently serves as the community co-chair of the Ottawa Community Engagement Committee. Mike is passionate about current affairs and promoting human rights. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, video games, table-top role-playing games, cooking, cycling, going to the gym and classical music.
Gaby (she/her) grew up going to camp every summer. She fondly remembers showing up to camp shy and cautious, and leaving with new-found confidence and energy. Gaby truly believes in the magical powers of play and the importance of having a safe space to try. She also remembers being one of the only kids of colour at camp, and how queerness was never something that was discussed and celebrated. As an adult, Gaby still holds onto her love of outdoor adventures, while also being committed to supporting the reframing of these spaces, by challenging our ideas of what they look like, who has access to them and who continues to be left out.
As a communications professional, Gaby has spent her career focused on amplifying voices and finding unique ways to communicate complex ideas. She has worked in the non-profit and private sectors, supporting organizations to shape their voice, expand their reach and grow their communities. She is thrilled to join the community at the Ten Oaks Project as a member of the Board, and to contribute to their efforts in providing a kind of space she would have cherished as a child.
Christian (they/them), sometimes known as ‘Xander’, is a trans non-binary and queer 2SLGBTQIA+ community organizer on unceded Algonquin Anishinaabeg territory. They are the founder and former Lead Coordinator of Rainbow Ottawa Student Experience (ROSE), a 2SLGBTQIA+ youth organization that operated from 2020 to 2023, and presently work in restorative and rehabilitative justice programming for women and non-binary people. Christian has a passion for abolitionist justice, the intersection of faith, spirituality and queerness, criminal and human rights law, community organizing, and cooking.
Rena (she/her) grew up in Sudbury and lived in Scotland and China before making a home in Ottawa. Having been previously active in Ottawa’s anti-violence community, she is committed to working with community organizations that centre an intersectional approach to social justice. As a later in life queer person, Rena is deeply committed to all things 2SLGBTQ+ and working towards a world that meets the needs of marginalized communities and celebrates diversity. Making space for children and youth to explore their identities, be who they are, and access the care and resources they need is a vital step towards this goal, and one that Ten Oaks takes seriously.
After playing soccer for most of her life, Rena now spends her days in the gym lifting heavy barbells and on campus as a professor at Carleton University. As a member of the Carleton Trans Advocacy Group, Rena is pushing for a safer and more respectful campus experience.