A Clinton resident and volunteer who has been active in the local and provincial Communities in Bloom programs for many years has been named the provincial CiB Community Champion, in recognition of her efforts in Clinton and for the provincial organization.
Yvette May says that the announcement — which was made during the provincial awards ceremony on Sept. 29 — came as a surprise to her.
“Provincial had a Zoom meeting and party for those not going to Victoria [where the ceremony was held], to give out the awards, and I found out I was being named the community champion.”
May adds that she should have guessed something was up: “Executive Director Catherine Kennedy kept asking if I was going to be there for sure, but I never thought about it. I thought she just wanted to make sure we were all there so that the communities would get their blooms.”
She is referring to the recognition given to CiB communities around B.C. which participated in judging this year. After sitting out the judging for two years during COVID, Clinton was one of those communities, and for the seventh time received Five Blooms and an 83.5 per cent score on their evaluation.
May is no stranger to the CiB judging process. She had been aware of the program when she lived in Kelowna, but it wasn’t until she moved to Clinton in 2011 that she joined. The town has been part of Communities in Bloom since 2002, and May immediately became involved at both the local and provincial levels.
She was asked to be a provincial judge in 2012, and has since travelled to various communities around B.C. to assess them. She also served as chair of the provincial CiB organization in 2017 and 2018, and played a key role when Clinton hosted the provincial conference and awards ceremony in 2018.
Since 2011, May has been a huge part of the Clinton CiB committee, organizing events, guiding judges around the community, and ensuring that the group’s two annual fundraising events — Seedy Sunday in April and the fall craft sale — are a success. She says that this year’s craft sale, which took place on Oct. 22, went really well.
“People were happy to get out. Last year’s was a little slow, but this year was well-attended, and the vendors were very happy.”
She adds that the funds raised at the craft sale and Seedy Sunday help defray the expenses of the judges’ visit. “The village pays the registration fee, but we pay for the judges’ accommodation and food.”
This year, in addition to being awarded Five Blooms again, the village received two special mentions, for the work CADOSA (Clinton and District Outdoor Sportsman Association) does in and around the community, such as maintaining trails, and for Clinton Creek Estates.
May says that when the judges came to Clinton in July this year, Clinton CiB really highlighted CADOSA. “No one really knows how much work this group does. We wanted to show all the work they do on the trails and everything else, because the volunteer things they do are impressive, and we felt we needed to show what the trails did for the environment.”
Clinton Creek Estates was also highlighted because of how much landscaping work has been done at the site — by staff and by the residents, who have their own planters — since it opened only a year ago. “It’s a great facility, and looks pretty good,” says May.
She is no stranger to making Clinton as a whole look “pretty good”. Every year, May and the rest of the Clinton CiB volunteers plant flowers in beds and planters around the town, in addition to looking after the community garden and running various special events, such as the annual Christmas lights event.
May’s volunteer work in Clinton is not confined to Communities in Bloom. For many years she has been part of the Community Income Tax Volunteer program, helping people file their annual claims, and has been a member of the Clinton Annual Ball Committee, the South Cariboo Historical and Museum Society, the Clinton Seniors’ Association, the Clinton 150/50 Committee, the Music in the Park Committee, and the Clinton and District Art and Culture Society, as well as a director of the Clinton Villa. In 2018, along with her husband Andy — another longtime Clinton volunteer — she was recognized as Clinton’s Citizen of the Year for 2017.
This latest recognition, from the provincial CiB, comes with a chess board that May gets to keep for a year.
“It’s marble, and weighs a ton-and-a-half, and all the tiles have names of the past winners on it,” she says. “Some of the other people on there are far more involved than I am, but it’s a real honour to get this.”