By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Volunteers will once again be recognized this year for their efforts in doing their part to build a better Morinville. Nominations are currently open for several categories of volunteer recognition, and residents have until Apr. 13 to put forth the names of those they deem worthy of that recognition.
“I think we’ve got some really fantastic volunteers in the community,” said Amy Dribnenky, Morinville’s Family and Community Support Services Coordinator, noting this year she’s hoping to spread that recognition beyond just the winners. “I know one of the things we want to start doing is not just highlighting the winners because although those are the ones that are chosen from the nominees, I think it’s also really important to recognize the people that are truly making a difference in the community right now.” Dribnenky said for many volunteers, the reward is in being nominated more than in being the winner.
The awards evening Apr. 27 will recognize volunteer of the year, legacy award, leader of the year and MSP Champion as well as others. Dribnenky said the Community Services Department will also be accepting nominations on behalf of the Morinville Lions Club for Citizen of the Year and on behalf of the Seniors’ Rendez-Vous club for the Heritage Award, both of which will be presented Apr. 27 along with the Town’s awards.
Dribnenky said the youth volunteer of the year award is a new addition to the mix this year. “We’re very, very excited this year,” she said of the addition. “We’re making it a more encompassing event, so youth volunteers are actually invited to the volunteer appreciation this year, regardless of age.” The FCSS coordinator explained there are many young volunteers in the community as many families volunteer together. “It’s a nice way to strengthen the spirit of volunteerism in our younger generation,” she said. “We have a lot of really fantastic volunteers in this community, and we’ve never been able to really properly acknowledge them. We’re really hoping that we get a good strong showing from youth volunteers so that we can thank them.”
This year’s award ceremony will recognize nine categories of award, and the town of Morinville is hoping residents will take the time to nominate people for those awards.
Volunteer of the Year seeks to recognize individuals who have volunteered on one or several community projects during 2011. Youth Volunteer of the Year is open to volunteers under the age of 18 and seeks nominees who demonstrate generosity of spirit, courage, creativity, determination, steadfastness, leadership or enthusiasm.
The Legacy Award is intended to be given to a family or individual who is leaving a legacy by passing the spirit of volunteerism onto the next generation. Whether that is a family who volunteers together or a volunteer who mentors other volunteers, residents are encouraged to put forth names of deserving individuals or families for recognition.
The Partnership Award is intended for community groups or organizations that have worked together to develop, implement or provide an event, program or service to the community.
Leader of the Year is an award that seeks to recognize a volunteer’s outstanding inspirational qualities, commitment, attitude and leadership in the community.
The Municipal Sustainability Plan Champion Award looks to recognize individuals or organizations that have made a valuable contribution towards the community’s sustainability. The award, introduced last year, follows the sustainability pillars outlined in Morinville’s Municipal Sustainability Plan. Nominators should identify which of the six pillars the volunteer supported. The Municipal Sustainability Plan is accessible online at www.morinville.ca.
Making a difference in Morinville will be acknowledged with the Silent Hero Award. Individuals, clubs or businesses are eligible for the award. Nominees should be active in the community and working to make a significant contribution to the lives of Morinville residents. The Town is looking for nominees for unsung heroes in the community – people who help others with shovelling and shopping or individuals or groups who work hard to build Morinville’s sense of community.
The Heritage Award, presented by the Rendez-Vous Club recognizes a volunteer’s longstanding service to any volunteer organization in Morinville. Nominees must not have been recognized in any way previously, and nominations are not accepted posthumously.
Citizen of the Year is an annual award presented by the Lions Club and recognizes the nominee’s volunteerism as far back as the preceding decade. Nominations for this award must be in writing and mailed to the Lions Club or dropped off at the Community services Department at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre. Nomination letters should include the nominee’s community group involvement, length of residency in Morinville, accomplishments in the past year with a volunteer organization, previous accomplishments over the past decade, and individual and family achievements.
Nomination packages for all nine categories are available at the cultural centre. Nomination letters may also be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. They may also be faxed to 780-939-7889. Deadline for nominations is 4:30 p.m. Apr. 13.