Four Yukon youth have received the 2023 Outstanding Youth Achievement Award.
Kalie Bennett of Whitehorse, Steven Domingo of Carmacks, Shanine Villaver of Faro and Jack Walcher-Wegmann of Mount Lorne were recognized for their devotion and contribution to their communities.
“The awards recognize these individuals for their positive impact on the Yukon, demonstrated through outstanding performance in areas such as the arts, athletics, academics, community engagement and exemplary role modelling,” an Aug. 25 Yukon government statement said.
Each recipient will receive $250 from the Yukon government, a certificate of recognition and a medallion from the Office of the Commissioner of Yukon.
Each year four Yukon youth are selected for the awards which are sponsored by the territorial government’s Youth Directorate in partnership with the Office of the Commissioner of Yukon.
The awards recognize youth involved in their communities in a range of activities that can include volunteering, athletics, art, academics, tutoring and mentorship or any activity that allows youth to act as positive role models.
Bennett, 17, is receiving the award in recognition of her contributions to sport in the Yukon and for being an exemplary role model of hardwork, sportspersonship and leadership in her community.
“She is a volunteer and a soccer coach for both a coed house league team and an all-girls travel team and can often be seen supporting players from the sidelines when not coaching,” reads the statement.
Bennett has represented the Yukon in futsal, soccer and table tennis at the Arctic Winter Games and Canada Winter Games and was presented with a Fair Play Award by Team Nunavik during the 2023 Arctic Winter Games.
Domingo, 17, is described as a dedicated athlete, volunteer and student in his home community of Carmacks where he has been an active member and leader of sports teams and initiatives in the community.
He “supports positive youth development initiatives and has been a coach and mentor for younger community members and athletes,” reads a profile posted on the government’s website.
Domingo attends St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Secondary School in Whitehorse where he competes in volleyball and badminton. He was also part of the U17 Subzero Volleyball team which placed second at nationals in Calgary earlier this year.
“Steven’s hard work, determination and perseverance have given him new opportunities, making him an exemplary role model for the youth in his community and throughout the Yukon,” the profile reads.
Villaver, 17, is recognized for her exemplary contributions in Faro. She is a regular volunteer at the Town of Faro Kids Club, at school activities and community events, including Canada Day celebrations, the Crane and Sheep Festival and Winter Festival.
She plays on her school’s volleyball team, where she is a two-time captain and shows her leadership capabilities by helping other youth learn the game.
She is also a Del Van Gorder School Memorial Award recipient and her accomplishments include learning French and English. Villaver’s patience, initiative and work ethic make her an excellent role model for the kids and youth of her community and the territory, her profile notes.
Walcher-Wegmann, 17, is recognized for her contributions to the community of Mount Lorne, as well as for her accomplishments as a fiddler. She is a long-time volunteer at Mount Lorne community events, senior cafés, markets and in the community garden.
“Jack is a recent member of Yukon Women in Music and has been a proud Yukon Fiddlehead for many years. She has represented the Yukon in performances across Western Canada and earlier this year her original tune Fly Away Home was performed at the 2023 Vancouver Youth Fiddle Summit,” according to her awards profile.
Walcher-Wegmann uses her passion for fiddling and music to impact others in her community including performing in assisted living homes throughout Whitehorse.
The statement described her as an outstanding role model and mentor for youth in the territory. Her infectious passion for and commitment to Canadian fiddle culture has earned her a spot in the 2023 British Columbia Provincial Fiddle Ensemble and Camp as well as an invitation to compete for the title of Canadian Grand Master Fiddle Champion in Truro, Nova Scotia.
The posters highlighting each recipient and their accomplishments are distributed to Yukon schools and across the territory.
In the statement, Premier Ranj Pillai said the recipients’ tireless dedication and unwavering commitment to their communities have earned them the well-deserved recognition.
“Their remarkable efforts not only showcase their individual achievements but also highlight the critical role that youth play in shaping a resilient and vibrant future,” he said.
Contact Patrick Egwu at email@example.com