Sheena Swierenga’s announcement of the 2016 YMCA Calgary Leadership Awards

The 2016 YMCA Calgary Leadership Awards are the result of nominations from colleagues, supervisors and staff and recipients will receive $1000 for a professional development opportunity.

Before celebrating the 3 recipients, I wanted to acknowledge all the leaders who exist at YMCA Calgary. So many of you show up and deliver quality experiences to our members and program participants and lead successful teams. This is a testament to your resiliency and passion and is what makes the YMCA a place where so many belong and thrive.

This year’s three recipients possess different qualities which make them exceptional leaders, what links them all is the profound impact they have on those they serve – members, youth and their staff teams.

Maris Vazina supports indigenous youth of Calgary by creating a place for community that nurtures self esteem, self worth and healthy relationships. The result is strong and confident young people. Maris’s greatest strength comes from her ability to walk in two worlds and to support her youth as they wear a moccasin on one foot and a shoe on the other. She has built strong relationships with elders and applied their guidance and teachings into the Y7G program. Elder Randy Bottle would humbly call her “an ally, advocate and a strong woman with a heart of pure love for her youth”

Safety is a priority across the Y and the opening of an aquatics space in a new facility provides unique challenges and opportunities for leadership. Nick Mansfield, Aquatics Director at Remington faced challenges with a consistent positive and professional attitude. His quiet leadership means that every guard stepping on deck is supported and experiences a positive work environment. Nick tirelessly creates a strong sense of community by building relationships with each lane swimmer, swim lesson participant and parent. Nick’s determination and hard work continue to lead the Aquatics department at Remington to the accolades of members.

From successfully deescalating issues to creating a space for her staff team to cooperate and collaborate, Jill Harbour has made YMAP a place where staff and approximately 300 youth a week feel a sense of respect and belonging. Jill’s unwavering determination for building and improving YMAP has led to collaborations with other organizations, staff being successful in their program delivery and ensure the broader needs of the community are met. For program participants this means a program built on the foundations of trust, judgment free conversations and organically formed relationships that honour the individual. Jill’s approach to leading YMAP has made her a role model and ambassador of building healthy communities.

I am pleased to present Maris Vanzina, Nick Mansfield and Jill Harbour with the 2016 YMCA Calgary Leadership Award.