The H.J. Cody Interact Club receiving an award at last year’s Leaders of Tomorrow awards. File photo.

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

The Youth Sparks Awards will feature six award categories on May 31

The Leaders of Tomorrow awards have seen an overhaul.

The awards presented by Youth Services will now be known as the Youth Sparks Awards.

Krista Carlson, FCSS Youth Services supervisor, says the change is a good “refresh” of the long-standing event.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work around positive youth development within our organization and this idea of sparks,” said Carlson, adding it was also a way to incorporate the SPARC coalition.

“Sparks are those things that kids are passionate about that gets them excited,” explained Carlson.

Carlson said they also wanted to diversify the type of kids getting nominated for the awards.

“Leaders of Tomorrow, to me, is not really a true representation because I feel like these kids are leaders today,” Carlson added.

The awards, instead of being divided up by age group, will now be six different categories.

The Inspiration Award is for a kid who has had any barriers to overcome and has shown resiliency.

The Service and Caring Award is for a kid who volunteers their time in the community to help others, while the Arts and Culture Award is for a kid with a passion for the arts and then shares that passion with the community.

There is also the Good Deed Service Award, which is all about a group or project that has made a difference in the community, and also the Athletic Ambassador Award.

“I’m really excited about this one because this is one area where I feel like we didn’t get a lot of nominations in Leaders of Tomorrow,” said Carlson.

This award is about more than just playing the sport well, it is about being a real ambassador for the sport, showing up and being a role model for the other players, added Carlson.

The final award is Spark Champion, which is a brand new award for an adult or person who has made a difference for a young person.

“Behind every great kid there’s typically what we call their Spark Champion, so that support person who is like cheering them on the whole way,” said Carlson. “We want to show the community it doesn’t take a lot of effort to be a Spark Champion for a kid and that anybody can make a difference.”

Winners for each award will be selected from nominations submitted by the community.

Nominations can be submitted online at sylvanlake.ca/youth or through a paper form at the schools for the Spark Champion award.

The nomination deadline is April 29.

Information needed to nominate a youth includes their name, how to contact them, their parent’s name, as well as consent from the parents to share the information with Youth Services.

Each nomination will also need to be accompanied by a write up outlining specific examples of what the child has done to help their nomination stand out.

Any kid between the ages of eight and 18-years-old who live, work or go to school in Sylvan Lake qualify for nomination.

“I think one of the biggest things I try to tell people is don’t just look for the extraordinary,” said Carlson. “There are extraordinary kids, definitely nominate them, but look at the ordinary too, like what are the everyday things that kids are doing, just even the small things that they are doing to just make the community better.”

Carlson encourages the community to nominate as many kids as they can because the event is about showcasing as many kids who are doing great things for the community as possible.

Every nominee will get invited to the event and will receive a certificate and will be called up on stage, with one special award for each excellence award winner.

The event, which is only open to nominees and their guests, will be on May 31 at the Community Centre.

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