This year is the 21st year the Wetaskiwin and Area Leaders of Tomorrow program has worked to celebrate positive and hardworking youth of the area and in those years 579 youth have already been recognized.
A Leaders of Tomorrow kickoff event was held at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum on Jan. 21 to once again relay the importance of the program to community sponsors and, in turn, allow those sponsors to say a few words on why they feel Leaders of Tomorrow is vital to the communities.
“The purpose of this morning is two-fold … the purpose of today is to spread the word,” said Wetaskiwin and Area Leaders of Tomorrow board chair John Tomkinson.
“Today we’re also gathering to announce and recognize our major sponsors,” he added.
The Leaders of Tomorrow Awards look to recognize youths within the community who strive to make a difference with their leadership and volunteerism, in four age categories: six to 11, 12 to 14, 15 to 17 and 18 to 21.
“Everyone on our committee works hard to make sure we have a quality program. Over the years we have gained the reputation of having the best Leaders of Tomorrow program in Alberta,” said Tomkinson.
Nomination forms were mailed out within the City of Wetaskiwin, Wetaskiwin County and the Town of Millet on Jan. 21. They are also available at many locations within the communities and printable forms can be found online at www.wetaskiwin.ca/leaders. The deadline for nominations is Feb. 22 at 4:30 p.m.
Each youth leader recognized by the community must first be nominated before an internal choice is made selecting the winning representatives from each age group. However, during the awards ceremony held at the museum in April each youth nominated for the program is given recognition regardless of if they are a final representative.
Dawn Weisner, Encompass Credit Union Wetaskiwin branch manager, was the first of many sponsor representative to speak to the program and why it is important for community organizations to give continual support. “It’s another way of saying thank you for all they do.”
City of Wetaskiwin councillor Bert Horvey also spoke during the kickoff. “It’s a great program, keep up the great work.”
“We’re always looking to build leaders and there’s no better time to start than when they’re young,” he added.
The program’s events have been hosted by the Reynolds-Alberta Museum since 1996 and museum director Noel Ratch says the Leaders of Tomorrow has become an inspiring and important event for the museum. “Leaders has really become a touchstone for us.”
“It just blows me away every year,” he added. “This just shows you there are tons and tons of great kids.”
Alberta 4-H Foundation CEO Bruce Banks also spoke to how important it is to recognize youth leaders in a community. “We also know communities remain vibrant with their volunteer component.”