The Wetaskiwin and Area Leaders of Tomorrow program is celebrating 23 years involvement in the community, and since its inception has recognized 631 inspiring youth.
The Leaders of Tomorrow held its annual kickoff party on Jan. 18 at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum. Each year the program gathers its major sponsors to give thanks for the continuing support and provide nomination information and any new updates to the program.
During the kickoff, a representative from each of the participating major sponsor organizations is given an opportunity to say a few words to the program organizers.
Being both the kickoff party and the awards evening are both held at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum, the institution has a long-standing involvement with the program.
“We’re grateful to be a part of this,” said acting director Randy Kvill.
Kvill added being a part of Leaders of Tomorrow is also a way for the museum to give back to the youth of community, as many youth volunteers participate at the museum.
Encompass Credit Union branch manager Mark Moran says it is important that the company remains a part of the program. “As long as I’m here we’ll continue to support it.”
Director of community services Kevin Lucas attended the event representing the City of Wetaskiwin. “It’s just a real honor for the city to be a part of this.”
He added the city has been involved with the program since its inception and became a major sponsor in 2000. “It’s a win-win.”
Rotary Club of Wetaskiwin representative Bill Milnthorpe announced this would be the club’s last year of involvement with Leaders of Tomorrow, as the club recently folded. However, there was money left over that the Rotary Club wanted to donate to Leaders of Tomorrow.
The Rotary Club of Wetaskiwin was involved with the program for 21 years.
County of Wetaskiwin director of leisure and community services Geoff Lynch attended on behalf of the county, and gave thanks to the program and the other sponsors for showcasing and honoring the nominated youth. “The County of Wetaskiwin would like to thank everyone involved with Leaders of Tomorrow.”
Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools board of trustees’ chair Lynn Ware says it is a treat to get to be involved in the program. The school division have been a major sponsor for 12 years.
“These kids are fantastic,” said Ware.
St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Schools board of trustees’ vice chair Henry Effon says the program is a benefit to the community, as it helps to reinforce leadership qualities in the community’s youth.
“This is a community I have a real passion for,” said Effon. “We’re all in this together as a community. Let’s build a better Wetaskiwin.”
Manluk Industries Ltd. CEO Frank Luebke says if the community want to see better growth and more development then it needs to have its future leaders in place.
“The program is incredible,” said Luebke. “It’s an obligation we have to programs like these.”
Ken Schubert, president of the Wetaskiwin Royal Canadian Legion, says the Legion has participated as a major sponsor for nine years.
As the president of a service organization, Schubert says community groups need future leaders. “As we get older we need these kids to replace us.”
“They do everything that they can without anyone ever telling them they have to. We need these people,” he added.
“The town of Millet is thrilled to be involved in this program,” said mayor Tony Wadsworth.
Leaders of Tomorrow is accepting nomination for youth in the area ages six to 21 until Feb. 21 at 4:30 p.m. Nomination forms have been distributed throughout the community by email; forms are also available at the City of Wetaskiwin FCSS office, the County of Wetaskiwin office, the town of Millet office, the Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools office, and Sacred Heart School.
The awards celebration will take place April 16 at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum.