Young Townships Leaders 2012 Award Recipients Announced!
Townshippers’Association has the great pleasure of announcing the four winners of the 2012 Young Townships Leaders award. Each year, Townshippers’ Association shines a spotlight on three young community members between ages 15-35 whose actions and initiatives have demonstrated leadership within the Eastern Townships English-speaking community over the past two years.
This year’s highly deserving recipients are Sherbrooke residents Michael Durrant, Jessica Wilson and co-winners James Lamarre and Madhiha Taseen. The laureates will be recognized for their achievements at the Association’s Annual General Meeting in Richmond on Friday, June 1, 2012.
“In response to the call for nomination for this year’s Young Townships Leaders Awards, I am once again overwhelmed by the talent, engagement and leadership of the nominees that have been put forward,” said Gerald Cutting, President of the Association. “On behalf of our Association it is truly an honour for me to acknowledge the exceptional contribution these young people are making to the advancement of our community. The public recognition that they receive for participation in this event is most deserving and a celebration of what is possible through hard work and dedication.” Take a look at the Young Townships Leaders of 2012 MICHAEL DURRANT
Although he had been involved in activities at school and work, Michael Durrant admits he wasn’t one for public advocacy. But when the future of a historic hydro electric dam on Ascot river was in question, the 30 year old Champlain College biology professor stepped out of his comfort zone and stood up for his community.
Growing up in Huntingville, Michael and many of his neighbours saw the over 160 year old dam as a fixture leaving them anxious over rumours that power company and site owner Boralex was looking at altering or removing the fixture. Not convinced that a letter writing campaign would be effective, Michael organized the first citizens meeting in summer 2011 that led to the formation of a coalition of concerned citizens who labelled themselves Friends of the Huntingville Dam.
The coalition grew and Michael was elected to lead the group, along with three other community members, advocating preservation of the dam to Borolax, the City of Sherbrooke, and English and French media. He also drafted and presented a proposal to the Sherbrooke city council and by Christmas 2011, Borolex agreed to halt any major alterations and instead reinforced the structure. Although Michael says there is still work to be done, he’s happy to see the result of community action.
“It really shows how someone can throw themselves headlong into something new and awkward that they are unfamiliar with, like public advocacy, and get involved and get something done,” said Michael. “This is what the average individual Townshipper can do when they put their minds to it.” JESSICA WILSON
Community involvement is a family tradition for 32 year old Jessica Wilson. Born and bred in the townships, Jessica grew up seeing her parents and grandparents get involved in school committees and community events. “I’m one of those who left and decided to come
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Young Townships Leaders Award Michael Durrant and Jessica Wilson.