Young Town­ships Lead­ers 2012 Award Re­cip­i­ents An­nounced!

Stanstead Journal - - LENNOXVILLE NEWS - Spe­cial col­lab­o­ra­tion Cor­rina Pole Len­noxville, Sher­brooke

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.

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