Deserving young people recognized with nominations, awards

Difficult decisions faced the selection committee for the Leaders of Tomorrow Awards this year because there were 85 nominees

Hanna Sigfusson (back left) won the Leaders of Tomorrow Award in the 11-13 year category. With their certificates are some of the other nominees

Hanna Sigfusson (back left) won the Leaders of Tomorrow Award in the 11-13 year category. With their certificates are some of the other nominees

Difficult decisions faced the selection committee for the Leaders of Tomorrow Awards this year because there were 85 nominees, all representing the “absolutely astounding” achievements and commitments of the town’s youth.

While there was just one award winner in each of the four categories, MC Jessica Ornella asked all to “remember that someone took the time to notice all the wonderful things that you’ve done and decided that our community should know about it. Your nominations are not because you’re the best player on your sports team or you’re the smartest in your class. You were nominated because you are a leader in our community.”

Ornella began the evening talking about how much the awards mean to her. “As a nine-year-old it was a push in the right direction to help people and be a good person. You don’t have to be an adult to do good things that others will recognize.

“At 15, it was an award that reminded me that I can make a positive difference in the world. I have even had the opportunity last year and the year before to be a nominator for these awards. I am as proud of the youth that I nominated as I was of myself when I was nominated. Sometimes all you need is a little push in the right direction and you can accomplish anything; that’s how I got here.”

She added volunteering is one of her favourite activities and the nominees are no strangers to devoting their time and talents to things they find important. “I love knowing that I’m working towards helping make someone else’s life better. I’ve done a lot of dressing up, mentoring younger people, working behind the scenes and most importantly, having fun. Not everything that is enjoyable is bad, just as not everything that’s worth it is difficult.”

Mayor Susan Samson was part of the selection committee and said, “I can tell you that the diversity of the volunteer work, the commitment of time and talent and extent of the involvement astounded me as I read through those nominations. I also felt the sense of pride that those nominators had as they filled out those forms … I am very proud knowing that we have such a valuable resource, our youth, that call Sylvan Lake home.”

6-10 age category

Rylee Resendes was selected as the award winner in the 6-10 age category. Her nominator said, “if I had to compare Rylee to a famous person, it would be both Calvin and Hobbes from the Bill Watterson comic books. She’s inventive and funny like Calvin, holey kneed, and fun-loving. But she’s easy-going like Hobbes, shoulder-shrugging, smiling and ready to roll with a joke or go along with someone else’s ideas for a while. She also looks pretty cuddly, like Hobbes, and not just a toy to put on a shelf and look at. She’s your best-friend kind-of stuffy.”

Her smile alone should be reason enough to win an award, said the nominator. “She really never gets grumpy. This girl has more positivity than an AC current!”

Rylee spends considerable time helping her grandmother who’s one of the key members of Red Deer and area food bank. She helps her family in their commitment to T.O.U.C.H. Ministries which has been integral in building an orphanage in Uganda. She’s helped raise money and raise awareness about this important mission. On top of that, she often takes care of younger cousins and helps coach their soccer team. She’s helpful with chores around home and school and volunteers with a smile.

Rylee was described as extremely hardworking, studies hard for tests and works hard in class “with that illuminating smile”. She’s in French Immersion which is a real hurdle for her but she tackles it with a great attitude and hard work.

Other nominees in the 6-10 age category were Ryleigh Alexander, Isaac Bahler, Ryder Brown, Avery Burgar, Alexis Fothergill, Rayeann Masters, Ethan Murphy, Kyler Olsen, Taylor Pangracs, Tayler Peters, Dawson Pollitt, Brooklynn Pollitt, Hailey Pollitt, Elias Rubletz, Taylor Sealy, Kai Stephansson and Jasmine Zander.

11-13 age category

Hanna Sigfusson, the 11-13 age category winner, is a “smiling, outgoing and happy 11 year old who enjoys learning, reading and helping at home with baking and cooking …”

Helpful in her neighbourhood, she volunteers to shove driveways in winter or walk dogs in summer.

“Hanna has shown exemplary leadership helping with Rotary and other community organization,” said one of her two nominators. That included helping with the Christmas Seniors Lunch, participating as a face painting elf at Breakfast With Santa, distributing flags at Canada Day celebrations and collecting money for Sylvan Lake Food Bank along the Santa Claus parade route.

She recently travelled to southern Mexico with Rotary to help distribute 390 donated wheelchairs.

Nine Rotary clubs raised $60,000 for the wheelchairs and when Hanna made her school aware of the project they raised enough to donate two of the wheelchairs.

One of her nominators wrote, “When you look up words to describe a giving person, you find words like: kind, helpful, loving, understanding, diligent, respectful, honest, responsible, hardworking, and the list goes on. I truly believe each of these words describe Hanna. Caring is at the heart of Hanna’s character. It’s a guideline for how Hanna relates to the world. Genuine, selfless concern for others shows her desire to be a leader.”

Other nominees in the 11-13 age category were Stevie Beckingham, Nicole Blair, Jordan Foisy, Ryley Fraser, Dania Halsey, Kyle Harbridge, Dylan Harnett, Dylan Hilman, Amber House, Josh Howse, Brea Ives, Sommer Larsen, Hana Lockyer, Hannah Lynn, Alyssa McGregor, Jordan McLean, Madelyn Nielsen, Alyssa Olsen, Jaiden Renner, Mataya Rideout, Olivia Rubletz, Sawyer Schmidt, Logan Somerville, Laila Watson, Asha Weaver, Adele Wilkins, Kody Wold and Mattea Wright.

14-18 age category

Marcus Ornella won the award in the 14-18 age category. His nominator wrote, “Marcus is a young man that is soft spoken but has a heart to serve within his community. He came to me last October, never having met, and asked if I needed a hand coaching 5-7 year old boys hockey. Since this was my first time coaching hockey I said absolutely. Not knowing how committed he would be, I was shocked he was there every Saturday. He was great with the boys and they loved him.

“I feel Marcus should receive this award because of his faithfulness, perseverance and leadership skills,” wrote the nominator who said as a 16 year old young man he could easily have missed several Saturdays, especially the 8:15 a.m. ice times.

“After Christmas Marcus battled some health issues, spent time in hospital and was also dealing with a suicide by a peer at his high school that happened on his birthday. I didn’t realize this until the end of the season. Amazingly, he still did not miss a day. Marcus’s leadership skills were first demonstrated to me when he asked me face-to-face it he could help and then secondly when he would work with the boys weekly, implementing age-appropriate drills and increasing their confidence on the ice. As a teacher of 20+ years, I could count only a handful of students like him that take leadership seriously and are accountable week after week.”

Besides hockey, Marcus helps with the floor hockey program at the youth centre and many other town events. He helped prepare and serve food for less fortunate at Sacred Heart Parish in Red Deer and stated afterwards he really enjoyed the experience and would like to do it again because “it made him feel really good about helping others”.

Other nominees in the 14-18 age category were Joel Armstrong, Jessica Beckwith, Amber Carson, Bobbi Cerin, Ann Duffy, Chase Hoffman, Megan Finner, Tatum Lavalee, Victoria Matejka, Jordanna Meadows, Autumn Murphy, Morgan Nemish, Grayson Nemish, Matt Ventura, Annika Vetter, Emma Villeneuve, Lily Walroth and Baylee White.

Group category

Sylvan Lake Youth Advisory Council won the award in the group category.

The group of 13-17 year old youth are dedicated to making Sylvan Lake a great place for youth to grow and learn. Twice a month, they get together to plan, organize and implement activities and events for youth.

One of their major accomplishments was assisting in planning and organizing Act Out Loud Youth Leadership Conference for Sylvan Lake and surrounding area youth, a weekend of learning about how to address injury prevention in youth.

“The YAC did a great job planning and managed to get 52 youth to attend.” They “represented Sylvan Lake well and demonstrated leadership by initiating activities and encouraging everyone to participate”. While they were exhausted on day two, they stayed to the bitter end, helping staff and volunteers clean the community centre.

The council will be creating a new time capsule for Sylvan Lake’s Centennial and they plan to come back in 25 years to open it.

The group includes Jessica Beckwith, Hunter Everaers, Chris Lanciault, Hunter McDonald, Mitchell McDonald, Madison McDonald, Kayla Meadows, Jordanna Meadows, Grayson Nemish, Morgan Nemish, Amber Power, Cassidy Andrews- Schulz, Amy Szoke, Lily Walroth and Baylee White.

The other nominee in the group category was Sylvan Lake Bowling Travel Team which included Kaitlyn Butt, Kelsey Butt, Hunter Carson, Dalton Crego, Jordan Crego, Leighton Eddy, Aerial Oldford, Emma Pafford and Liam Pafford.

Not all nominees in the various categories attended the awards ceremony.

MC Jessica Ornella concluded the evening stating “youth like you prove every day that making a change in the world is not just for adults. Following the famous quote of Gandhi, you are being the change that you wish to be in the world. Your peers will look up to you and want to follow your example, whether you know about it or not. I can see your closest supporters here with you right now, and I can see that they’re gleaming with pride for what you have done.”

The evening included entertainment between each of the award presentations. The local performers included David Jones, Ainsley McCallum, Bobbi Cerin, Brooklyn Hughes, Julie Olive, and Kings of Clarity featuring Joel Armstrong (Aggrvate), Chase Hoffman (Math Matik), and Andy Armstrong (Shifty Eyes).

About the nominees and recipients:

6-10 Age Category:

Ryleigh Alexander

Ryleigh is a very happy, caring and energetic young lady. At school she is a dependable and hard working individual. Ryleigh’s efforts to complete assignments and to be a stabilizing presence during group work have not gone unnoticed. This young lady always makes time for others and never has to be asked to help. Because of Ryleigh’s hardworking, helpful and caring demeanor her peers tend to naturally follow her example.

Isaac Bahler

Isaac is a Grade 3 student who is curious about many things. He reads a lot of books and participates in sports like triathlon. Isaac is currently partnering with Sobeys to recycle plastic shopping bags – he hopes that one day they will no longer appear in landfills. 

Ryder Brown

Ryder is full of determination. He currently has a yellow belt in Karate and has a goal of achieving a black belt by the time he is 12. His love for people, both inside of school and at the youth centre, is what makes him a great leader.

Avery Burgar

Avery is a role model and leader both in school and in her community. She is kind, helpful, caring and conscientious. Avery is a member of the Nauticals swim team, she is involved the Benalto Shadow Riders Horse 4-H club, and is an active member in her church community. On top of this Avery has partnered with a peer to create a project to help save animals, in particular endangered species. 

Alexis Fothergill

Alexis is a very caring girl who has many friends and takes care of her friends and classmates. Alexis is an active participant in helping to raise money to walk in the Walk to End MS. She has been training for this walk and asks many teachers and friends to help donate to this cause.

Rayeann Masters

Rayeann is a peace maker. She has a developed sense of right and wrong and wants to see the right thing done for everyone. Rayeann is an active participant in the 4-H club and has finally got to participate with her horse. She hopes to one day reach the National level and with her dedication and the effort that she puts into everything she does it would not be hard to imagine her achieving her goal.

Ethan Murphy

Ethan is a kind, compassionate and accepting young man. He goes above and beyond to include others and is good at helping others to see the positive side of things. Ethan plays team sports and works along with his family on the farm.

Kyler Olsen

Kyler is a kind and caring boy who has a big heart for his friends. Kyler enjoys playing hockey and has exceptional sportsmanship. At the Youth Centre, Kyler is always thinking of others before himself, which brings such a positive vibe to the Youth Centre. Kyler is always smiling and inspires everyone around him to be more cheerful.

Taylor Pangracs

Taylor is a motivated young lady. She always completes her school work to the best of her ability and does not hesitate to ask questions to ensure she understands. Taylor leads by example. She is confident in her abilities and is always willing to help others without being asked.

Tayler Peters

Tayler has an enthusiastic personality. When conflict arises she demonstrates that she is capable of discussing the situation and coming to some sort of resolve about it. When there is help needed around the Youth Centre, Tayler is more than happy to help while maintaining an upbeat and positive attitude.

Dawson Pollitt

Dawson is a very outgoing girl who goes above and beyond to help anyone in need. She is a hard worker at school and at home. When at the Youth Centre Dawson shows leadership by helping whenever she can and always does so with a proactive attitude and strong work ethic.

Brooklynn Pollitt

Brooklynn is a kind and dependable young lady. These attributes make her a great example for her friends. Brooklynn is an active member of Pathfinders in her community.

Hailey Pollitt

Hailey has a great sense of humor. She loves spending time with friends and family. Hailey is always setting goals and finding ways to achieve them. Hailey is an active member of Pathfinders in her community.

Elias Rubletz

Elias is seen in the Youth Centre as being caring and helpful towards others. He is a kind spirited young man who has goals of excelling in school. Elias wants to volunteer his time to help where he can in his community. He is a leader by example when at the Youth Centre in that when there is help needed he is always there to ask if he can assist.

Taylor Sealy

Taylor is a thoughtful, caring, kind, conscientious young lady who is much more socially aware and socially concerned than most children her age. Taylor has partnered with a friend to make and sell bracelets so they are able to raise money to help animals, in particular endangered animals. On top of this quest Taylor is in her seventh year of dance lessons, takes guitar lessons, piano lessons and swimming lessons.

Kai Stephansson

Kai could be described as being a very genuine soul. He is compassionate, considerate and loves to make others smile. Kai is very honest and always tries to do the right thing. Kai is a leader in and out of school. He has received the Faith Award, Crusader Award and a Phys-Ed award in school. On top of those achievements he swims, plays hockey and participates in the Adopt a Family program. Also notable is that instead of receiving gifts for his birthday, Kai asks for donations for a local charity.

Jasmine Zander

Jasmine is an intelligent young lady who puts her friends and family first. She is always smiling and most of the time is talking about her brothers and sister. Jasmine shows leadership when she thinks with a win-win perspective. Jasmine sets a good example for her peers at the Youth Centre by being a good listener and working with determination on various projects.

Recipient: Rylee Resendes

This is what Rylee’s nominator had to say about her:

If I had to compare Rylee to a famous person, it would be both Calvin AND Hobbes from the Bill Watterson comic books. She’s inventive and funny like Calvin, holey kneed, and fun-loving. But she’s easy-going like Hobbes, shoulder-shrugging, smiling, and ready to roll with a joke or go along with someone else’s ideas for a while. She also looks pretty cuddly, like Hobbes, and not just a toy to put on a shelf and look at. She’s your best-friend kind-of stuffy.

Rylee deserves to be the Leader of Tomorrow for her smile alone. She really never gets grumpy. This girl has more positivity than an AC current! 

At an age where many children are developing their own skills, Rylee spends a considerable amount of time helping others. Her grandmother is one of the key members of the Red Deer and area food bank. Rylee helps at the food bank regularly, already developing an understanding of how important it is to serve those who need it, where they need it. Likewise, she helps her family in their commitment to T.O.U.C.H. Ministries, which has been integral in building an orphanage in Uganda. Rylee has helped raise money and raise awareness for this important mission and considers it an ongoing focus for her life. On top of that, she often helps take care of her many younger cousins, and even helps coach their soccer team. Her parents describe her as being helpful with chores around the house, which is quite believable, since Rylee is always the first to volunteer to do extra chores that need doing around the classroom. She volunteers with a smile in our compost and digs the worms around and she often helps others organize their desks or lockers, never expecting to be thanked or noticed.

Secondly, Rylee is extremely hard-working. I’m not sure if she’s aware that she works harder than the average kids to keep up the good marks she gets. If she is, she never complains. She studies hard for her tests, and she works hard in class, always with that illuminating smile. Here’s an example of her dedication.  Rylee is super creative, but spelling is a challenge. Throw in the added element that her schooling is in French, and now she’s got a real hurdle in front of her!  She never blinks at this though one day early in the year, she came to me with no less that a 500 word story she’d written on her own time, just for fun! I kept her story all year, to remind me of the power of a great attitude and hard work. That’s what makes a leader, and Rylee is a Leader of Tomorrow.

11-13 Age Category:

Stevie Beckingham

Stevie is a great role model for younger girls around her. Her bright smile and her sense of humor are the first things you notice about her. Stevie is part of Girl Power at the Youth Centre. Her personality and leadership are some of the things the younger girls look up to. Stevie also loves to dance.

Nicole Blair

Nicole is a very enthusiastic person who works hard at everything she does. She is kind and helpful to her teacher and also to her classmates. Outside of school she is involved in 4-H and The Pony Club. Nicole has won numerous school awards for her achievements and citizenship.

Jordan Foisy

Jordan is a kind hearted student who is determined to make Fox Run a great place. He volunteers at all kinds of community events. Jordan comes each day with a smile on his face and is always willing to help others. His goal is to be an animal doctor.

Ryley Fraser

Ryley is a very artistic, diligent, respectful, self-driven and committed student. He is very reliable; if anyone asks for his help, he is ready to lend a helping hand. He volunteers his time to be a member of the Mother Teresa Helping Hands youth group. He has helped organize fundraisers for the school. Ryley does well academically while keeping up with all his commitments.

Dania Halsey

Dania has shown a kind heart to all students. Often, you will see her working with a variety of students. Each day she is positive and welcoming of others. She role models what ÒrespectÓ is to her peers and they follow. Dania is involved with Christian Youth Theatre and also involved in Fox Run Renaissance.

Kyle Harbridge

Kyle is a very upbeat and happy kid. He is always smiling and laughing. He is one of the most helpful kids at the Youth Centre. He is more than willing to help the younger youth at the centre and has proven to be a great role model for them. Kyle does not let others influence his behavior and is always willing to stand up for other youth.

Dylan Harnett

Dylan is a very reliable student who helps with Renaissance in many capacities. He works well with others and encourages others in many positive ways. He volunteers many lunch hours and outside of school time to help with the Renaissance program. Dylan also helps his neighbours with yard work all year long.

Dylan Hilman

Dylan is an active member of school Renaissance leadership program. He is an academic role model for his peers and is a mature and respectful member of the classroom. He has a genuine kind spirit that is evident to all around him Ñ both adult and peer alike. He is quick to offer encouragement and a helping hand and shows acceptance to all around him.

Amber House

Amber is always a pleasure to be around. She always has a positive outlook on things and is constantly looking to lend a hand. She is eager to help her peers and works well as a team player. She is looking into trying out for track & field team.

Josh Howse

Josh is a very dedicated and responsible young man. On top of his diligence in staying intellectually engaged at school, he shows virtue in creating positive relationships with his friends, family members and community peers. Josh continues to display leadership roles throughout the community by demonstrating kindness to others and encouraging others. 

Brea Ives

Brea radiates positive energy to any environment. She is very determined and hard working and continues to lead by example. Brea is a student who brings enthusiasm and a spark to everything she does. She encourages her peers and they strive to better themselves.

Sommer Larsen

Sommer’s goal in class is to do her best in all subjects. She volunteers to coach younger participants in gymnastics. She also volunteers at the youth centre and supports the band program by helping out with fundraising. Sommer is always willing to lend a helping hand to whomever needs it.

Hana Lockyer

Academics are very important to Hana. She has a great deal of drive to be successful in everything subject at school. However, this does not prevent her from taking time to help other students who may be having difficulties.

Hannah Lynn

Hannah is a trustworthy young lady who is respectful to both adults and peers alike. She always strives to do her best work and is willing to put the extra time and effort needed to achieve her goals and exceed them. She is always ready to help others and is an excellent role model for her peers.

Alyssa McGregor

Alyssa is outgoing and always wants to do the right thing. She works hard to do her best at all times in and out of the classroom. You rarely see her without a smile on her face. She will complete anything you ask her to do and it will be well done. She is very involved in dance and that takes up most of her time. She often has very little time to work on homework but is always on top of her work.

Jordan McLean

Jordan is a fantastic peer teacher who has a way of explaining things to her peers. Her sensitivity and empathy towards others is evident in her family, and in positive interaction with other students. Her maturity allows her to recognize and understand issues from an adult’s perspective.

Madelyn Nielsen

Madelyn is very responsible and reliable when it comes to completing tasks or showing up for meetings. She contributes to the betterment of her school and her community. She loves to volunteer at school and does not hesitate to lend a helping hand if she is asked. She is part of the Mother Teresa Helping Hands youth group and has taken on the task of remaking stepping stones needed for the garden. 

Alyssa Olsen

Alyssa has been a great role model at the Youth Centre. She has volunteered at several community events such as Winterfest and has been a huge help. She also dances competitively with Sylvan Lake Dance Academy. She loves to dance and aspires to be a dance teacher so she can be a role model for young girls. 

Jaiden Renner

Jaiden is a hard worker and a positive role model to others. She is a great help at school and home, always willing to lend a hand when needed. She has been involved in badminton, the Renaissance program and drama at school. She was also accepted as one of the few students to attend Camp Evergreen. 

Mataya Rideout

Mataya encourages others to keep trying when they are discouraged with a task. Peer teaching comes naturally to her. She achieved Fox Run Ambassador and Academic Achiever for terms 1&2. She should be very proud of this as she works above and beyond at all times. She won a gymnastics competition and is going to Provincials. 

Olivia Rubletz

Olivia is a very kind and caring big sister. Her positive attitude inspires everyone around to be more joyful and cheery. She volunteers at the Youth Centre. She is very patient with the kids and is a great role model for them. She is a very remarkable young lady. 

Sawyer Schmidt

Sawyer is very polite and has great people skills. He is very creative and has a scientific mind. He helps in his community by shoveling elderly couples’ driveways. He is involved in sports through school and is involved with Renaissance and community events.  

Logan Somerville

Logan is a very outgoing and energetic young man with a positive outlook on life. In class, he is very motivated and does well on assignments. He will take charge anytime there is group work. He listens to everyone’s opinions and comments and then helps facilitate a course of action. He is a born leader. 

Laila Watson

Laila is loving and kind. She is always conscientious about her school work and she displays great leadership skills. Laila can always be counted on to complete tasks and everything she does is done with care and precision. Laila plays soccer and enjoys acting and singing. She is very helpful at home and baking is one of her favourite things to do. 

Asha Weaver

Asha is a very determined young lady and has a very strong work ethic. She works hard at school and is always willing to help others. She will stay after school to help teachers as well. She if very active in swimming and soccer and plays piano. Asha demonstrates exceptional leadership qualities. 

Adele Wilkins

Adele is a very committed, enthusiastic and reliable student. She is very creative and often brings fresh and original ideas to her youth group. Adele is a student who has gone beyond expectations to serve her school and her community. While she was in Grade 5, Adele wrote letters to different organizations in the community asking for their support in building flower beds at Mother Teresa School. She has been part of the Mother Teresa Helping Hands youth group for two years and has been a key member in spirit, heading the building of the Rosary Garden. Adele is a truly committed student who does not hesitate to spend the time to help her school and community. 

Kody Wold

Kody is an all-around athlete. He plays hockey, golf, baseball and enjoys biking in his spare time. At school, Kody has been involved in badminton, basketball, cross country and the Renaissance team. He has also won awards for his academic achievement. Kody is loyal to his friends and family and is a wonderful role model. Kody is not afraid to speak out and stand up for others. 

Mattea Wright

Mattea is a very kind and compassionate student. She is a leader and a Fox Run Ambassador, volunteering her time and staying active in 4-H. Mattea recently received a certificate of recognition from the Alberta Equestrian Federation for being an outstanding volunteer at a dressage competition she entered in February. She is also involved in the Red Deer Rhythmic Gymnastics Club and has been a strong team member in memorizing the movements and patterns and helping others to stay in synch. Mattea has also assisted in helping younger horse riders prepare for lessons and put horses away after. Mattea always has a smile on her face and she is an excellent role model for her peers. 

Recipient: Hanna Sigfusson

Hanna is a smiling, outgoing and happy 11 year old who enjoys learning, reading, and helping at home with baking and cooking. She is very supportive in attending most of her brother’s hockey and lacrosse games. 

Hanna is the first to bring her brothers along to shovel the neighbour’s driveway after a heavy snowfall. In the summer she likes the outdoors and often stops in at the neighbours to inquire if she can help with the dog walking. 

Hanna has shown exemplary leadership helping with Rotary and other community organizations. Some of these include:

–  Volunteering to take a leading role in serving coffee and tea to the seniors at the Christmas Seniors Lunch and helping to clean up afterwards.

–  Participating in the Breakfast with Santa and dressing up as an elf to help with face painting.

– For the past two years Hanna has led a group of neighbourhood friends helping at Canada Day celebrations and distributing flags.

–  She has collected coins along the Santa Claus parade route on behalf of Sylvan Lake Food Bank. 

Recently Hanna travelled to southern Mexico to give the gift of mobility to 390 people in and around Oaxaca state. This is a Rotary project where nine clubs and numerous individuals donated financially to raise the $60,000 to make this possible. Hanna made her school aware of the efforts and was fortunate to have two wheelchairs donated from there as a result. 

While in Mexico, Hanna handled herself very well and completely participated by assisting in the unpacking, assembly and placement of individuals in their new wheelchairs. She did this while wearing a smile the entire time.  

Hanna was nominated twice this year and one of nominators described her this way:

When you look up words to describe a giving person, you find words like kind helpful, loving, understanding, diligent, respectful, honest, responsible, hardworking, the list goes on. I truly believe each of these words describe Hanna. Caring is at the heart of Hanna’s character. It’s a guideline for how Hanna relates to the world. Genuine, selfless concern for others shows her desire to be a leader. 

14-18 Age Category: 

Joel Armstrong

Joel is a very outgoing individual. He is rambunctious and hyper but true to his goals. Joel was the captain of his hockey team, a very competent student and dedicated to his education. Joel is mature and talented. He is an aspiring recording artist and has managed to juggle school, work, recording and hockey without breaking a sweat. He recently performed at the Act Out Loud Youth Leadership Conference and he instantly gained many new fans. Joel keeps an optimistic outlook, even when everyone else is not and he is someone you can rely on. 

Jessica Beckwith

Jessica volunteers extensively in her community, participating in collecting food bank donations during the Santa Claus Parade, collecting and counting coins and shopping for the Christmas Bureau and collecting coats for the Coats for Kids program. Jessica has spent many hours volunteering for Town events such as Breakfast with Santa and 1913 Days. Jessica maintains Honour Roll standing while still committing many hours to being a Leader in Training at the Sylvan Lake Youth Centre. 

Amber Carson

Amber is very conscientious and always does her best every time. She is on the honour roll at school and has received the Citizenship Award. Amber loves horses and aspires to be a vet one day. She is a competitive swimmer, breaking many club records and mentoring young swimmers at swim meets. Amber is described as a friend for life, as she is very loyal and trustworthy. 

Bobbi Cerin

Bobbi is part of the Leadership class at H.J. Cody High School where she participates in planning and organizing school and community events. She has volunteered at Bethany Care Centre to serve tea and coffee, helped collect and wash coats for the Coats for Kids programs and regularly volunteers for Town events like Winterfest and Yuletide Festival. Currently Bobbi is involved in planning a food bank drive and the ‘We Are Silent’ program.  

Ann Duffy

Ann is a very considerate individual. She is a leader within her peer group and with the young kids she coaches at swim club. Ann is an active member of Sylvan Lake Nauticals swim club and has received the leadership award twice.  Because of her dedication to swimming, Ann was accepted into the Athlete Enhancement Program, which is usually reserved for elite athletes. She does all of this while still making time to help her community, volunteering for Town events and staying involved in initiatives such as Coats for Kids, Christmas Shoebox Campaign and the ‘We Are Silent’ program. 

Chase Hoffman

Chase is intelligent and great at dealing with problems. He is logical and thoughtful and always willing to lend a hand. He was the quarterback for his high school football team and dedicated to his education. He is a talented musician and works hard to learn and grow as an artist. Even while dealing with his father’s sudden death, Chase found positive ways to deal with his grief. He is humble, outgoing and honest; a true role model for his friends and family. 

Megan Finner

Megan is a quiet student who likes to help others. She has a non-judgemental and positive attitude. Megan has volunteered many hours to assist with Fox Run’s hot lunch program. She is very organized and dedicated. She is always willing to use her own time to benefit others. 

Tatum Lavalee

It seems whenever something needs to be done, Tatum’s name comes up to do it. She volunteered several hours to babysit during the Triple P Parenting course and shows patience when she helps younger children, including her younger brother. She can always be trusted to keep everyone on track and ready for performances. Tatum is artistic and creative and so was the perfect choice in putting together the Mother Teresa Art Exhibition. Tatum is also very dedicated to her swim and basketball teams.  

Victoria Matejka

Victoria is determined and passionate about learning. She is dedicated to her community and volunteers extensive hours at Town events such as 1913 Days and the Spooktacular. Victoria can always be counted on to complete tasks with high quality. 

Jordanna Meadows

Jordanna is a spunky girl with a great sense of humour. She has a great attitude towards people, school and her community. She has a flare for the dramatic and is currently competing with her drama class in zones. Jordanna has dedicated many hours to volunteering in the Youth Centre, mentoring and role modeling for younger children. She is a member of the Youth Advisory Council and brings energy and great ideas to the table at every meeting.  

Autumn Murphy

Autumn is her own individual, quirky personality. She is ambitious and would like to run her own catering and baking business one day. She volunteered to create cakes for the kindergarten grads at Our Lady of the Rosary two years ago. Autumn has done numerous volunteer activities around the community including, babysitting during the Triple P parenting courses, organizing the Mother Teresa’s Treasure art extravaganza and stepping in last minute to help a community group put on a play. Autumn has a go-with-the-flow, courageous attitude.

Morgan Nemish

Morgan is determined, strong and ambitious. She works hard at school and in sports. She is a supportive friend and team player. Morgan is on several sports teams including school and club volleyball, track, cross country running and soccer. She has been awarded Player of the Game by her peers. Morgan was involved in teaching volleyball to younger youth in Sylvan and is a second year member of the Youth Advisory Council. 

Grayson Nemish

Grayson is a happy, easy going person with a great smile and good sense of humour. Grayson consistently achieves academic achiever in school which consists of a mix of high grades, great work habits and positive behaviour. Grayson completed the Leaders in Training program with Youth Services, sits on the Youth Advisory Council and is involved in many sports including badminton, soccer, and football. Grayson was injured early on in the football season but continued to go to practices and games to cheer on his team. 

Sheldon Trudel

Sheldon is a kind student to others. He thinks of others and often volunteers in our community. He participates in sports and the Renaissance program. At school, Sheldon is respectful and well-mannered with staff. He willingly helps in any way he can and is always enthusiastic. 

Matt Ventura

Matthew is a loving, caring and considerate young man who is constantly striving to be the best he can be. Matt is a strong community supporter and has generously shared his time and talents to better the lives of others. He is actively involved in Canadian Tire Jumpstart fundraising events so that all kids have the opportunity to be involved in sport. He has been involved in the Christmas Toy Drive where he and his family delivered toys to an Aboriginal Reserve near Calgary. Matt volunteers an incredible amount of hours to causes that he is passionate about. A few of these include the Women’s Shelter, Bully Awareness presentations, welcoming parents to school presentations and the food bank. Matthew was also involved in a Rotary project that helped supply wheelchairs to those in need in Mexico.  

Annika Vetter

Annika is a motivated and ambitious young lady. She was part of the Renaissance program at Fox Run School and completed the Leaders in Training program at the Youth Centre. She spends countless hours volunteering at many Town events such as Yuletide Festival and Winterfest. Annika is a dedicated swimmer and also has helped with programs like Coats for Kids, Christmas Bureau and Christmas Shoebox Campaign.  

Emma Villeneuve

Emma is an incredible young lady, an amazing leader and is loved and respected by her peers and teachers. She is a strong young lady who always does the right thing no matter what. Anytime her class needs a volunteer, Emma is always the first to step up. She is on the badminton team at school and is part of the Renaissance team. She contributes to the school community by selling dance tickets and organizing the Remembrance Day and Term End assemblies. Emma has also volunteered at the Food Bank and many Town events such as Breakfast with Santa and Fall Festival. 

Lily Walroth

Lily is a determined, energized and humble young lady. She works many hours at Sylvan Lake Youth Centre and has impacted the lives of many young people there. As soon as she walks through the door of the Youth Centre she has a line-up of young kids waiting to give her a hug. Lily also volunteers hours in a kindergarten class at CP Blakely School. Her warm smile brightens up any room. Lily is dedicated to helping those who cannot help themselves. She is very empathetic and is not afraid to think outside the box. Recently Lily has initiated a support group for girls in her high school who are dealing with difficult issues. Lily was also nominated for a Great Kid Award this year. 

Baylee White

Baylee is an incredibly organized and dedicated young lady. Baylee volunteers for any and all school and community events: Fall Festival, Spooktacular, Breakfast with Santa just to name a few. She is wonderful with younger children and can always be relied on. Baylee completed the Leaders in Training program at the Youth Centre and sits on the Youth Advisory Council. She is a main contributor at all school assemblies, both organizing and speaking. She gives up many lunch hours to sell dance tickets, candy canes or to contribute to the school’s bullying program. Baylee has also voluntarily given up many lunch hours to work one-on-one with a younger student who is being bullied. She is an incredible role model with a generous heart. 

Recipient: Marcus Ornella

This is what Marcus’s nominator had to say about him:

Marcus is a young man that is soft spoken but a heart to serve within his community. He came to me last October, never having met, and asked if I needed a hand coaching 5-7 year old boys hockey. Since this was my first time coaching hockey I said absolutely. Not knowing how committed he would be, I was shocked when he was there every Saturday. He was great with the boys and they loved him. 

I feel Marcus should receive this award because of is faithfulness, perseverance and leadership skills. As a 16 year old young man he could easily have missed several Saturdays, especially the 8:15 a.m. ice times, but he faithfully came and served in whatever way he was asked. After Christmas Marcus battled some health issues, spent time in the hospital and was also dealing with a suicide by a peer at his high school that happened on his birthday. I didn’t realize this until the end of the season. Amazingly, he still did not miss a day. 

Marcus’s leadership skills were first demonstrated to me when he asked me face-to-face if he could help and then secondly when he would work with the boys weekly, implementing age appropriate drills and increasing their confidence on the ice. As a teacher of 20+ years I could count only a handful of students like him that take leadership seriously and are accountable week after week. 

Marcus also helps with the Floor Hockey Program at the Youth Centre, and volunteers for many Town events, including Breakfast with Santa and 1913 Days. He has been volunteering with the Terry Fox Run for the past five years and tries to get his friends involved as well. Marcus helped to prepare and serve food and then did clean up for the less fortunate at Sacred Heart Parish in Red Deer. This experience was truly remarkable. While serving the food and later washing the floors Marcus was able to talk with some of the people that had come for a meal. He really enjoyed this experience and stated the he would like to do it again as it made him feel really good about helping others. 

Group Category: 

Sylvan Lake Youth Bowling Travel Team

Kaitlyn Butt, Kelsey Butt, Hunter Carson, Dalton Crego, Jordan Crego, Leighton Eddy, Aerial Oldford, Emma Pafford, Liam Pafford 

This team of young people is very dedicated to their sport. Not only did they join and come out every weekend, but they also joined the travel team and did a great job representing Sylvan Lake. They tried their very best and even when they did not get in the top five, they were still very positive and upbeat. They inspire the younger kids to try their best as well. They are all willing to help fellow bowlers with pointer and tips and their coaches are very proud of them.  

Recipient: Sylvan Lake Youth Advisory Council

Jessica Beckwith, Hunter Everaers, Chris Lanciault, Hunter McDonald, Mitchell McDonald, Madison McDonald, Kayla Meadows, Jordanna Meadows, Grayson Nemish, Morgan Nemish, Amber Power, Cassidy Andrews-Schulz, Amy Szoke, Lily Walroth, Baylee White. 

Sylvan Lake Youth Advisory Council is comprised of youth 13-17 years old who want to make a difference for youth in the community. They are dedicated to making Sylvan Lake a great place for youth to grow and learn. Twice a month, this wonderful group of youth get together to plan, organize and implement activities and events for the youth in our community. Some of the events this year included: Hunger Games event, pizza & movie night, Potato Party and Youth Christmas Party.  

One of their major accomplishments was assisting in planning and organizing the Act Out Loud Youth Leadership Conference. This conference invited youth from Sylvan Lake and surrounding areas to spend the weekend learning about how we can address the issue of injury prevention in youth. YAC did a great job planning and managed to get 52 youth to attend, even though there was a snowstorm the first day. YAC members represented Sylvan Lake well and demonstrated leadership by initiating activities and encouraging everyone to participate. Even when they were exhausted on day two, they stayed until the bitter end, helping staff and volunteers to clean the Community Centre. 

The Youth Advisory Council will be taking on the task of creating a new Time Capsule for Sylvan Lake’s Centennial. We will invite these amazing youth back in 25 years to open the time capsule and we are sure to hear of all their success.