Isabella Penner

Summer youth staff 2022

Isabella – or Bella as she likes to be called, is our first summer staff member to arrive on site for 2022! Bella has a long history with Sorrento Centre. Her family has been coming here for years and her older sisters were also previous summer staff members. Her sister Abigail Penner is currently part of the board of directors. Bella’s vivacious and outgoing personality has been such a delight to our centre the last few days. She has been sprucing up our centre as a new addition to the maintenance grew, tending to our gardens and lending a helping hand wherever she can. We are so excited to have her be a part of the team and to celebrate her arrival we conducted a short interview highlighting her favourite memories and her experience so far working at Sorrento Centre. 

1.  How many years have you been coming to Sorrento Centre? Can you share your first memories?

In general, it’s been staggered throughout my life. I came here as a kid and my dad used to preach here and my mom used to do music and both my sisters have worked here. So, I come here every once in a while. It’s kind of like a magnet for our family. I guess we just always end up back here.  First memory, I remember driving up the first time I ever came here, and I remember thinking “this place is so cool!” and then I remember going to the beach. I came here with Young Sojourners here once from our church, so the youth leaders were there, and some other young people and we all went to the lake, and I remember swimming in it and having a good ole’ time! I think it was in 2013, it was a while ago. I was really young, and I wasn’t supposed to go on it but my whole family was going and were like “can she come?” and I ended up coming.

2.  What is your favourite place/time of day/time of year at Sorrento Centre?

I think it’s always my favourite time to come to Sorrento, but I think in the Summer because you find so many people and I mean like the slogan is “it’s a place of belonging” and when you come here you actually do feel like you belong here! There’s something for somebody, everyone’s so nice and you can always fit in somewhere.

3.   What is your role here this summer? How long have you been in this role? What is your favourite part of this role?

I’ve never worked here before; I’ve always just come as a guest, and this is my first time working here. I’ve been doing a little bit of everything; I’ve already been able to help out other people. People keep coming up to me with things to do and it brings them joy to see someone out in the garden, pulling out the weeds and seeing their beloved garden grow. I specifically wanted to do maintenance which shocked my family a little bit they were like “are you sure, you used to nanny” but no I just really wanted to spend the summer out in a garden in the mountains and this is the perfect place to come.

Right now, Kevin has me mostly in the garden, if you look at the maintenance crew, I’m definitely the one that’s… with the young legs. I can bend over easy! So yeah, I’m mostly doing weeding and really taking care of the memorial garden and going up to St. Mary’s and making sure that’s all nice for everybody. I’ve done some hanging baskets and just some watering and general grounds keeping of the gardens. I’ve also been helping with the renovation of the upper wash house; I’ve been drilling doing tough girl stuff! 

4.  What do you do when you are not at Sorrento Centre? I like singing, I’m an artist and that kind is a vague term for a lot of the things I do. I like playing my guitar which I learned how to play during the pandemic. But I like playing the guitar, singing, painting a lot, drawing and I am a bit of a film nerd. I like to watch a lot of weird films. I like all Wes Anderson films because all of them are my favourite. 

5.  What keeps you coming back?

I just love the vibe. The people are great, I love the values of Sorrento, it’s all community based. Everybody feels really appreciated, no ones overworked or overlooked or at least it’s not intentionally that way. I just love the people, the community and the setting here is just beautiful views. 

6.  Is there anything else you want to add?

Come to Sorrento, it’s awesome, that’s what I want to add!   

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