Over 300 people gathered at the Community Centre to celebrate the Leaders of Tomorrow Awards last Friday evening. At the annual event, 165 youths were recognized for their commitment to helping the community.
Leaders of Tomorrow Awards were presented to three separate individuals in three different age categories — 6 to 11, 12 to 14 and 15 to 18 — and a fourth award was given to a group.
The nominee finalists received a glass trophy, a certificate, a book and a $100 cheque.
Kenyon Simms was the award winner out of 10 nominees in the 6 to 11 age group, and was surprised to be the winner. He was recognized for being a Snow Angel, giving toys to children in need and raising funds for cancer. Last year he worked delivering papers and donated some of the money he earned to cancer.
Jagger Fifield received the award in the 12 to 14 age group and was up against 35 other nominees. Fifield shyly accepted the award, but fully deserved it as he helps the staff at the Flipside Youth Centre by running errands, and is a Snow Angel for his elderly neighbours.
Out of 10 nominees, Jessica Beckwith won the award for the 15 to 18 age group. She was recognized for being a model student at HJ Cody School, and for her involvement with the Flipside Youth Centre and the Youth Advisory Council.
Boyz Unlimited from the Flipside Youth Centre won the group award. The middle-school boys were selected for their creative thinking of raising money to support their own entertainment. They also gathered second-hand clothing and other household items to sell for raising funds during a fashion show put on by the younger children at the Centre’s after-school program
Each nominee was nominated by adult figures who have noticed and appreciated the youth contributions made in the community.
The selection committee included eight members: Corrie Brown of the Sylvan Lake Municipal Library; Sylvan Lake Town Councillor Megan Chernoff; Megan Callan of the House of Music; Krista Carlson of FCSS Youth Services; DeeAnn Daniels of École Fox Run School; Marion Frame of ATB Financial; Nancy Numan of ATB Financial and Brittney Wells of FCSS Senior Supports.
Before the nominees were called up on stage, Sylvan Lake Town Councillor Jas Payne commented on how “awesome” the youth in the room were. He said he gets to sit down and talk with them on what they are going to do in the future, and then he gets to help them get there.
“When I say I know kids, I’ve probably taught or counselled about 10,000 of them,” Payne said. “I think I’ve seen just about every configuration of kid. I’ve known kids who wanted to be astronauts and who actually became astronauts. I’ve known kids who wanted to become doctors and they all became doctors. Our neighbourhood can be awesome because of these kids.”
Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre also gave some advice to the youth before the nominees were recognized.
“Your potential is nearly limitless, and because of that, don’t let any challenge no matter how big or small intimidate you,” he said to the audience. “You’re capable of so much, and now that you know that, you’re capable of even more. You’re like a weapon of awesomeness.”
He then asked the youth to always be thankful to the people who contributed positively in their lives and who helped them achieve their dreams.
“There is no telling what accomplishments our youth can achieve when they are empowered with the understanding that they can make a difference in the world.”