PHOTOS: Sylvan Lake youth recognized at Youth Spark Awards

The Excellence Award winners pose on stage at the Community Centre. The group represent the six categories recognized at the Youth Spark Awards May 31. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News
The HJ Cody Interact Club accepting the Excellence Award for the Good Deed Service Award category. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News
Gracie Mack (left) poses with Councilor Kendall Kloss after receiving the Excellence Award for the Arts and Culture category at the Youth Spark Awards May 31. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News
The 46 Spark Champions nominees pose for a group photo on stage at the Community Centre. The Spark Champions category was nominated by the youth to recognize the adults who help them light their “sparks.” Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News
Excellence Award winner Brynne Takhar (left) smiles alongside Councilor Kendall Kloss. Takhar was the Excellence Award winner for the Service and Caring category. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News
Athletic Ambassador Excellence Award winner Sadie Jeffries (left) and Councilor Kendall Kloss pose onstage at the Community Centre. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News
Tirzah Walter holds her Excellence Award for the Inspiration Award category at the Youth Spark Awards May 31. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News

The first ever Youth Spark Awards celebrated around 150 individuals on May 31.

Family, friends and the nominees gathered in the Community Centre for a night of recognition and desserts.

The Youth Spark Awards, formerly the Leaders of Tomorrow Awards, featured six categories to be nominated in, five for youth and one for adults.

READ MORE: Sylvan Lake’s Leaders of Tomorrow awards get a new look

“I think that it recognized a whole different group of kids,” said Krista Carlson, FCSS Youth Services Supervisor, of the new format.

She said some of the nominations were the same from past years, but the categories rather than age groups, provided the opportunity to see all the different things these kids are doing to create a richer community.

“This year we really focused on the categories being about the activity that they were doing and not the age that they were,” explained Carlson. “So you would see elementary kids nominated for Athletic Ambassador with high school kids because they’re both doing great work in that area.”

Carlson added the format allowed more people to nominate, whereas in previous years most of the nominations coming from schools.

“Although we still had a large number from the schools, we had more sports organizations, more arts organizations, more community members nominating as well, so it was good to see a variety of nominators,” Carlson said.

The biggest challenge with the event was letting people know they had been nominated and extending their invitation, said Carlson, who says next year they will have to work on the way they communicate to the nominees to stress the importance of attending and being recognized.

“We are just so proud of all of these kids,” Carlson said. “They are just so amazing… these kids are going places.”

Every nominee was recognized on stage with a certificate, but only one from each category received the Excellence Award.

Good Deed Service Award – HJ Cody Interact Club

Arts and Culture Award – Gracie Mack

Service and Caring Award – Brynne Takhar

Athletic Ambassador Award – Sadie Jeffries

Inspiration Award – Tirzah Walter

The sixth category, Spark Champions, did not have an Excellence Award. All 46 nominees were recognized on stage with a certificate to celebrate the work they do with the youth in the community.

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