Emcee for the Clinton Volunteer Appreciation and Citizen of the Year reception Wayne Marchant and Clinton's Citizens of the Year Lois and Jim Thompson as they first notice their family members are there for the Citizen of the Year announcement.

Striking a Balance – Appreciating volunteers

Susan Swan's weekly report of community news and events in Clinton.

Volunteer Appreciation

A reception to honour and thank all volunteers in the Village of Clinton was held on Saturday, Feb. 28 in the Clinton Memorial Hall.

Emcee for the evening, Councillor Wayne Marchant welcomed everyone by sharing a comment by one of the presenters at the Elected Officials Workshop held in Kelowna in January. The presenter talked of how difficult it is for communities to budget for everything that must be done in their communities in light of all the downloading by higher levels of government. At the end of the discussion this presenter said that every elected official should kneel and bow to their community members. And then he did just that!

He then called on Mayor Jim Rivett to give a few words. Mayor Rivett stated that, as usual, Coun/ Marchant had just stolen his thunder! Communities such as ours cannot hope to be the type of community people want them to be without volunteers. They make our communities much more liveable.

Rivett introduced the special guests for the evening, MLA Jackie Tegart and TNRD Area E Director Sally Watson, both of whom stated their appreciation of volunteers.

Marchant then invited everyone to enjoy the buffet, tea and coffee. He thanked the Mill Girl Follies for preparing the goodies and mentioned that these ladies are fundraising to go to Germany to attend an International Dance Festival representing Canada (and of course BC and Clinton). They have now raised enough money to get them there but they would like to come back home, too. He advised that there was a container for donations on the buffet table if anyone wished to contribute to their return flight.

Marchant stated that many of the local volunteer groups had display tables set up at the back of the hall and everyone was welcome to check them out and see if there was a group they would like to join or help out.

He also pointed out that Dina Connon, that familiar face in the Village Office has, as of March 1 been working in the Village Office for 39 years. What an accomplishment!

2014 Citizen of the Year

Finally, the announcement that everyone has been waiting for. Councillor Marchant advised that this year the Citizen of the Year is being awarded to a couple who have been in Clinton for over 40 years.

Keeping everyone is suspense, he advised that this couple arrived here with two young children. Dad soon became involved in coaching softball, t-ball and was a Beaver leader. Mom donated her time to Brownies, Guides and the Clinton Hospital Auxiliary. She got involved in a Manpower Employment Program and was part of the crew that built the New Cemetery in 1977.

He was a charter member of the Clinton Lions Club and she joined when women were finally permitted. In 2008 the Clinton Lions provided the labour to install new playground equipment in Reg Conn Park. She was one of two women who made concrete all day long to help members with the installation.

They are also long time members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 194 and both have held executive positions in the Lions Club and Legion. Both are very active in annual Remembrance Day Celebrations. She has headed up the Poppy Campaign for many years. They encourage students to take part in Legion sponsored events. Students in Clinton have won Royal Canadian Legion awards both provincially and nationally for poster, poetry and essay contests.

She organized and is a founding members of the Clinton Cleavages, a group that has raised thousands of dollars for breast cancer research.

They support many school projects and field trips where he is always available to drive students on the bus for out of town trips. She has volunteered at David Stoddart School for one-to-one reading programs.

They are also huge supporters of the 4-H program, awarding trophies, and judging their public speaking events.

They can usually be found together attending most functions in Clinton no matter who is sponsoring and always willing to help.

This couple has always gone the extra mile. They drop in to the pharmacy when in 100 Mile House to see if there are any prescriptions that need to be brought to residents in Clinton. They will phone elders to see if they need anything brought back from Kamloops.  They put others before themselves and always can be found at each other’s side – each supporting the other in their volunteer work.

“In appreciation for all that they have given to Clinton”, Marchant stated, “It is fitting to finally recognize Jim and Lois Thompson with the honour of 2014 Citizen of the Year”.

As they came forward to accept their plaque and flowers, the Thompsons were surprised to see their children and grand children arrive from where they had been hidden in a back room. It made the evening complete for them.

Following the presentation, door prizes were awarded to a number of attendees. Val Bissat thanked all those who donated items to be given out.

The Learning Curve Opening

On Saturday, Feb. 28 a group of Clinton residents gathered at the meeting room at the High Bar First Nation Office for the Grand Opening of Clinton Literacy Outreach.

Daniela Dyck, the Literacy Outreach Coordinator (LOC) and Sharon Ambler, the Community Adult Literacy Program (CALP) Coordinator welcomed everyone and gave a brief background on the program.

They explained that the Literacy Centre was first started under a grant that the Village of Clinton applied for under a Literacy Now grant program. The Village received $5000, which was used for a feasibility study. The study resulted in a grant of $10,000 being received four years ago. This funded family and children literacy programs with some adult computer programs as well.

Literacy Now morphed into what is now known as DECODA Literacy Solutions. Funds had to be stewarded by an outside agency. The Village of Clinton and then Community Futures in Ashcroft have filled this role. The group wanted to have the program funds brought back to the community and they also needed a partner for the CALP grant.

The Ministry of Advanced Education offered CALP funding so the group partnered with High Bar First Nation and was provided with the use of the newly renovated space and stewardship of the funds. A partnership with TRU is also in place to fill the requirement of having a post secondary partner.

The program has been named ‘The Learning Curve’ in light of the ongoing learning and the curves encountered along that path to greater learning. The sign says it all: The Learning Curve, our hub of community learning!

A CALP grant of $21,000 was received and Sharon Ambler was hired to coordinate CALP for the steering committee. The steering committee consists of Nancy Rempel, Diana Guerin, Tracy Fallstrom, Sandi Burrage, Sharon Ambler and Daniela Dyck.

Since coming on board, Sharon has tutored one on one and in group sessions focusing on computer courses, English as a second (or in some cases additional) language and reading and some adult graduation (GED) courses.

More volunteers are always welcome. The more courses that can be offered that are well participated in the better the funding will be in the future. Now that the CALP is well established they are looking at introducing new family programming as well as a Shuswap language and culture course that will be offered online. They are working diligently with High Bar to be able to offer this opportunity.

LOC Coordinator Daniela Dyck summed it up by saying “Thank you to our volunteers, without them this would not be possible. Thank you to High Bar for partnering with us and providing this wonderful newly renovated facility to use as our literacy centre. Thank you to Integris Credit Union and Insurance for their financial and graphic support. We hope to be here for many years to come with a program that will evolve into a community literacy program that is second to none!”

Susan Swan

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