Fort Smith youth awarded for leadership

Fort Smith youth awarded for leadership
Taylor Phillips receives an award from NWTRPA President Robin Langille.

Local athlete and benevolent activist, 18-year-old Taylor Phillips, was awarded for community volunteering and academic achievements at the NWT Recreation and Parks Association (NWTRPA) awards ceremony in Hay River last Thursday.

Phillips received the Scott McAdam Youth Leadership Award, which recognizes one youth from the NWT annually based on their outstanding achievements and community contributions through volunteering, work and school.

“Taylor’s nomination was very strong based on those criteria,” said Geoff Ray, executive director of NWTRPA. “Her nomination demonstrated that she had clear leadership qualities, had an impact on her community with a great deal of volunteer hours, and had achieved a high level of academic success.”

While in Fort Smith, Phillips volunteered for the animal shelter, was on student council at PWK high school and worked at the community swimming pool. She helped found the “world issues club” at school and worked on the school newspaper as well.

She started college this month in Grande Prairie, Alberta where she is studying to be a veterinarian.

“It’s amazing to think that I did so much stuff,” said Phillips. “When you’re doing it, just going down to the animal shelter or putting on a dance for student council, it doesn’t feel like you’re doing all that much. But it’s nice to be recognized.”

This summer Phillips competed at the territorial and Western Canadian level of women’s beach volleyball and has been helping coach volleyball at JBT Elementary school as well as hockey and beach volleyball.

“I’m very proud of her,” said Taylor’s mother, Heather Villeneuve. “She just loves volunteering. It’s important to her to make a difference and put others first and it’s really nice for her to get appreciated for it.”

Phillips said her family has been supportive of her the whole way.

“Ever since I was little, my mom helped me do as much as I could,” she said. “My whole family jumps at every opportunity to help people. They aren’t afraid of hard work. My mom taught me that at a young age.”

Other awards for recreation were given to individuals in Yellowknife, Fort Providence, Inuvik and to the Tlicho government. The NWTRPA awards recognize recreation professionals and volunteers in the North for their efforts in promoting healthy living for all Northerners.

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