2013 Provincial Youth Awards

Recently the Youth Nominee Conference celebrated the contributions of 44 youth nominated for the Provincial Volunteer Award, the Crime Prevention Award, the Intergenerational Award and the Chief Noel Doucette Memorial Youth Award.

The conference provided time for youth to network and discuss issues together and to engage with provincial politicians, including Education Minister Ramona Jennex; and Minister of Labour and Advanced Education Marilyn More, who is also responsible for Immigration, the Voluntary Sector and the Status of Women.

The event was organized by the Leaders of Today group through the Child and Youth Strategy. The MC was Becky Kent, the MLA for Cole Harbour- Eastern Passage and Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly.

Bridging the generations

Braden NewellBraden Newell is already bridging the generations by volunteering with people from 8 to 80 years of age.

The 14 year-old Bluenose Academy student from Lunenburg spends his time with elementary school children and senior citizens.

"Braden is known for selflessly volunteering his time and energy to many worthwhile causes," says Becky Kent, MLA for Cole Harbour—Eastern Passage.

Braden had the idea to begin an original anti-bullying program. "I know what it is like to be bullied," he says. "I was on an RCMP Youth Advisory Committee and then I talked to the vice-principal about bringing anti-bullying education into the school."

The administration was supportive and soon the Anti-Bullying Committee, or "ABC" as it is known, was involving other students from grades 3 to 8.

What’s it like talking with a large crowd of eight year olds?

"Really interesting! They’re full of energy," he says.

Speaking of energy, he belongs to 11 different organizations within his own school and attends a lot of meetings as a result.

Another special initiative is the work he’s been doing at Harbourview Haven with senior citizens. The focus is on activities that engage the seniors, including bowling, bingo and baking.

"I just love going in and seeing their smiles, it’s so joyful," he says.

"And if I can see something that I can do, I will do it. It gives me a sense of purpose that is really powerful."

Raising the bar

Christena DykstraAthlete and coach Christena Dykstra recalls the family home in Little Harbour, Pictou County as a bustling place with multiple siblings involved in basketball, badminton, archery and track and field.

Raising the bar could easily be a metaphor for the way that the gold-medal winning high jumper approaches her life.

She represented Pictou Landing First Nations at the North American Indigenous Games in Denver in 2006 and in Cowichan in 2008, bringing home a gold medal in high jump and a bronze in the triple jump.

"She enjoys a challenge and is not afraid to push her limits to do more for herself and the youth she coaches," said Becky Kent, MLA Cole Harbour / Eastern Passage. "Her love of sports and healthy living makes her a role model and an inspiration for all."

Currently, she is a student at the Nova Scotia Community College who volunteers with young women and encourages their involvement in sport and fitness. Christena has been coaching in high school and recreation programs for many years. Her commitments extend to the 2013 Canada Games in Sherbrooke, Quebec, where she will be the Aboriginal Apprentice Coach for Team Nova Scotia.

"These awards are a great way to encourage youth to be involved in the community by reinforcing their contributions," she says. "Volunteers are often unsung heroes, and this says that what you’re doing is really valued."

Happily Ever Active

Kayla MalleryDancing always gave Kayla Mallery an intuitive understanding of the connection between movement and a sense of well-being.

"Her vision is to design and deliver sustainable programming that can support marginalized older adults in their efforts to remain healthy and happy," said Becky Kent, MLA for Cole Harbour / Eastern Passage.

While studying neuroscience at Dalhousie, she began offering a dance class for seniors. Later on, as a newly minted graduate, she recognized that few senior citizens had the opportunity to participate in activities that would bring them the same joy.

So in 2012, she founded Happily Ever Active with the goal of offering a variety of accessible recreation programs. These are offered free of charge to seniors with physical, mental, social or financial limitations.

"I can’t express enough how important it is to be involved in the community," she says. "I’ve grown so much as a person."

Congratulations to everyone who was nominated for an award in 2013.

Volunteer Awards

  • Jenna Cottrill, Wallace
  • Colby Refuse, Lunenburg
  • Makayla Smith, Lunenburg
  • Braden Newell, Garden Lots
  • Hailie Harrison, Oxford
  • Megan Beamish, Halifax
  • Lauren Atkinson, Stoney Island
  • Erica Anne Porter, Windsor
  • Allison Lord, Windsor
  • Colton Bourke, River Bourgeois
  • Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Tiren J. Hawkins, Truro
  • Victoria Glasner, Halifax
  • Rachel Weagle, Hebbville
  • Byranna Richardson, Hilden
  • Karlee Perry, Digby
  • Megan Digou, Westmount
  • Lewis Jenkins, Middle Sackville
  • Forrest Dawe, Amherst
  • Chantel Findley, Dartmouth
  • Hannah Rudderham, Sydney
  • Forrest Gallagher, Springhill
  • Rebecca Boyd, Bedford
  • Michelle Riley, Shelburne
  • Angela Spinney, Pubnico

Crime Prevention Awards

  • Alyson McIver, Port Hawkesbury
  • Tiffany Holmberg, Port Hawkesbury
  • Hannah Gillis, Guysborough
  • Intergenerational Award
  • Colin Yee, Barrington
  • Daniel Benoit, Pomquet
  • Kayla Mallery, Halifax
  • Jacob Doucette, Truro

Chief Noel Doucette Memorial Youth Award

  • Anoogwa Paqtism Pictou, Paqtnkek
  • Christena Dykstra, Truro
  • Zachary Julian, Truro