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North Grenville’s 2021 Civic Awards Recipients Celebrated

February 10, 2022

NORTH GRENVILLE, ON – At last night’s meeting, North Grenville’s Council celebrated the recipients of the 2021 North Grenville Civic Awards, recognizing individuals and groups who have showed outstanding service to the community.

“Congratulations to the 2021 Civic Award recipients. Council is indeed grateful for your commitment to improving the quality of life and community cohesion here in North Grenville - and there is no doubt that you certainly did that in 2021,” said Mayor Nancy Peckford. 

“Despite the ups and downs of this past year, so many individuals stepped up time and time again in unpredictable and ever-changing circumstances,” emphasized Mayor Peckford.

“Council received an overwhelming response to the call for nominations and would like to thank all those who took the time to nominate someone. We are very fortunate to have such talented and energetic individuals that are sharing their time and energy for everyone’s benefit,” added Deputy Mayor Jim McManaman.

The Civic Awards Program was established to recognize and honour the contributions and dedication of individuals and groups who make outstanding contributions to improving the quality of life for all those living and working in North Grenville.

Since the program began in 2009, more than 50 individuals and 11 groups have been recognized for their efforts. For more information visit: www.northgrenville.ca/CivicAwards.

While the 2021 North Grenville Civic Awards were held virtually, recipients (or a designate) were on hand via Zoom to be recognized and say a few words.  

The 2021 Civic Awards were awarded to the following individuals and organizations. The descriptions of recipients are based upon the submissions made by nominees.  

Agricultural Leadership (Senior, 56 years and older) *NEW*: Joyce Seguin

As 4-H volunteer and leader for over 35-years, Joyce Seguin has selfishly opened her home, farm, and life to teach agricultural principles to multiple generations of children. Joyce is a true pillar of family and agricultural strength.

Her passion and daily work inspire all that know her that anything can be accomplished. Promoting farm to fork before the term was popular, a long-time 4-H leader and long-time Kemptville Hospital volunteer, Joyce has contributed to the long-term stability of our Municipality with her quiet leadership.

Arts and Culture (Senior, 56 years and older): Herb Cloutier

Herb Cloutier has spent the last 10 years actively volunteering and championing the arts and culture in this community. Having fostered relationships with the BIA, Kemptville District Community Association, Kemptville Live, and the North Grenville Community Foundation to name a few, Herb has been involved in a wide variety of community events including, the Santa Clause Parade, Downtown Promenades, Canada Day, and our increasingly famous Kemptville Creek Community Skateway! Herb ensures our local arts community have a voice in any event he is involved with.

Environment (Group): Sustainable North Grenville 

Sustainable North Grenville was created to help raise awareness about sustainability issues in North Grenville. Its mission is to foster a resilient community that meets the social, cultural and economic needs of its residents now and for the future, while preserving the environment’s ability to support it. Sustainable North Grenville provides the community with resources and information on how we can become a more sustainable community, even through small changes in our daily lives.

Exemplary Work in the Community (Adult, 26 – 55 years): Diana Fisher

As a regular columnist for the Kemptville Advance, and former radio personality at Juice FM/Moose FM, Diana Fisher is well-known in the community and has always used her public platforms and social media presence to expand her volunteer efforts and raise awareness of local issues impacting the North Grenville community.

Volunteering regularly with Salvation Army and supporting initiatives such as the Kettlebell campaign, volunteering as emcee for events such as the Kemptville District Hospital Auxiliary Hey Day fundraiser, and the North Grenville Sports Hall of Fame, volunteering at Kemptville Live Music Festival, and the Kemptville Youth Centre Book Fair, Diana is a familiar face for many in the community.

Exemplary Work in the Community (Youth, 25 years and younger): Eliza Batchelor

Eliza is the founder of the Hidden World Project, an initiative to educate our community and spread awareness about human trafficking and how to recognize the tactics used to ‘lure’ vulnerable individuals into becoming victims. The statistics Eliza has shared on human trafficking are alarming and hit home even here in North Grenville. Eliza has started a crucial conversation and is making an impact.

Exemplary Work in the Community (Senior, Age 56 and older): Neil Whyte

Neil Whyte has made a tremendous volunteer contribution to the North Grenville community with active roles on the Oxford Mills Community Association and the Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee - in addition to various events, festivals and other charitable projects. His dedication to heritage, arts and culture through his volunteer efforts, from staging, lighting and engineering for community events including Canada Day, community picnics and the extensive lighting of Maplewood Park at Christmas.

Neil always steers a group back to the core values of our community by highlighting the importance of supporting local businesses, charities, individuals - and by reminding everyone that volunteerism is about community support, human kindness, and heartfelt generosity.

Exemplary Work in the Community (Group): Kemptville Pride (Holly Brown, Founder and 2021 Board)

In 2019, Holly Brown served as a major catalyst in organizing North Grenville’s first Pride Parade - which was a very positive, family friendly and fun event. Through a lot of energy, dedication, and collaboration with many other volunteers, this success led to the formal establishment of Kemptville Pride. As one of the early founders, Ms. Brown’s efforts were instrumental in creating space and momentum for others to come forward.  

The priority of Kemptville Pride is to support and provide education, promotion, networking opportunities and outreach in support of the LGBTQ2 community and its supporters. Kemptville Pride, under the guidance of a committed and passionate Board of Directors, has grown into an incorporated non-profit, that has solidified funding that will enable them to build a solid foundation and structure so that they can continue their work well beyond having a parade every June. 

Kemptville Pride recently began the Safe Place Program which allows residents, businesses and organizations to assist victims of hate-motivated crimes and incidents by providing secure locations for victims to report a crime and get assistance, along with the various other events and initiatives over the past few years.

Health and Wellness (Adult, 26 to 55 years): Rebecca Cronk and OmShanti Melanie Charlebois (Joint Award)

During the COVID-19 lockdowns, Rebecca Cronk offered the community virtual live training sessions via zoom or on Facebook Live, in addition to several shorter videos and weekend challenges for participants of all ages and fitness levels. These classes were all free and designed so that no gym equipment was required. Rebecca also volunteers as the strength and conditioning coach for our very own Kemptville 73s. Despite the impacts to her business due to the COVID restrictions, Rebecca has continued to remain positive, lead by example and find ways to give back to the community.

The Co-Recipient in this category was OmShanti, also known as Melanie Charlebois. OmShanti has been a pillar in the health and wellness industry in North Grenville for many years, and most recently by bringing awareness to the wellness aspects of yoga in North Grenville through the inaugural Surya Yoga Festival held on Kemptville Campus last year.

Health and Wellness (Group): Members of the ParticipACTION Working Group (Municipal Health Wellness & Fitness Advisory Sub-Committee)

Debbie Allingham, Nick Charman, Tanya Deans, Stacey Dickson, Rick Gerein, Darryl Kielec, Robert Matheson, Phil Mosher.

In April of 2021, members of the Health, Fitness and Wellness group made the bold decision to compete for ParticipACTION’S Most Active Community Award - for the first time in North Grenville’s history.

A subcommittee was formed to plan, strategize, and promote our formal entry into the contest, which was a way to highlight the value of active living.

This Committee, alongside North Grenville’s municipal communications team, local media, teachers from various schools, fitness studios, childcare centres, clubs and businesses, rallied, put up signs, walked, ran, worked out, held dance parties (way to go Madisson Montessori!), marathon events (thank you Tennis Club!) and much more. Together, we helped cajole kids to do phys-ed classes online, got them outside after months of online learning, held neighbourhood or friends & family contests on the Participation app – all so that we could track our steps, movement and activities.

All of this effort (and a lot of sweat!) ultimately lead to North Grenville being crowned Canada’s most active community!

Heritage (Group): Burritt’s Rapids Community Association

The Burritt’s Rapids Community Association is governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees who are elected from the community to manage the Burritt’s Rapids Community Hall and act as a voice for the hamlet of Burritt’s Rapids. The Hall was built in 1855 by John French and operated as a general store. In 1935, Casey Swedlove sold the hall and its property to the community and since then it has been run as a non-profit facility. In 1984, the hall was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act as being of architectural and historical value. The dedicated work and strong advocacy of the Association is instrumental to supporting Heritage in the Burritt’s Rapids Community.

Recreation Sport and Leisure (Adult, 26 to 55 years): Mark Robinson

Mark Robinson is a lifelong resident of Bishops Mills, and his house faces the Bishops Mills Community Park where Mark played as T-ball and softball in the summer and skating on the rink in the winter. His father, Mervin Robinson, would help flood the rink when Mark was growing up. Mark has taken over the reins from his father and looks after the Bishops Mills Outdoor Rink - often staying up late on cold nights to lay down an extra layer of ice, or to shovel the snow off the rink so kids can play.

Mark’s volunteer service has made a huge impact on the Bishops Mills community. Mark has been a strong advocate for the park in Bishops Mills and worked tirelessly with the Municipality to improve the area for the ice rink. Mark’s work has contributed to giving the community the opportunity to be more active. It has become a destination for visitors from afar, keeping Bishops Mills on the map, and perhaps being an inspiration for other communities to create rinks of their own.

Recreation Sport and Leisure (Senior, 56 and over): Sarah Herring

Sarah Herring has generously volunteered her time over many years in support of the Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation and the Friends of the Ferguson Forest Centre, acting as a champion for active trails and preservation. More recently, she has worked tirelessly to bring to fruition the Kemptville Winter Trails project, creating cross-country ski trails in Ferguson Forest Centre for the first time in North Grenville for all to enjoy, and by fundraising for the purchase of a trail grooming machine.

Youth (Group): The Oxford Mills Sisterhood of Guides

The Oxford Mills Sisterhood of Guiding has been a successful youth group in the community for a number of years now. The leaders work tirelessly without much recognition, providing a safe, inclusive and challenging program for youth members.  

The group has accomplished so many amazing things each year such as participating in the Earth Day Garbage Cleanup Challenge, Snowarama Breakfast to raise money for Easter Seals, Oxford Mills Tree Lighting and Carol Singing, Operation Christmas Child, various Food Drives, and many more initiatives.