MUSKOKA – It seems there are a lot of inspirational women in Muskoka.
YWCA of Muskoka's 2012 Women of Distinction award recipients include D'Arcy Kirkwood, left, Martina Schroer, Jasmine Arney, Laurie Lamont, Jo Walton, Jennifer Schnier and Fran Gower.
Photo by Alison Brownlee
The YWCA of Muskoka is now sifting through a record number of nominations for the 2012 Women of Distinction Awards, said fund development co-ordinator Molly Ross. The award honours women whose outstanding achievements contribute to the well-being and future of their community. The awards are nationally recognized as one of the most prestigious awards for women, said Ross.
“It’s a way to recognize the achievements of women and what they are contributing to our community,” said Ross. “In a rural community like this, it’s more important than ever to recognize what community members are doing to make a difference.”
Friends, family, co-workers, neighbours and peers have nominated twenty-six women from across Muskoka for awards in six categories. Categories include: young woman of distinction; mentorship; arts, culture and creative energy; health, sports and wellness; community development and social activism; business innovation and entrepreneurship; and lifetime achievement.
Nominees include D’Arcy Kirkwood, Brenda Cunningham-Moran, Brenda Wainman Goulet, Cathy Oliffe-Webster, Martina Schroer, Marguerite Urban, Chris Gefucia, Jennifer Schnier, Katy McGregor, Kelly McBride, Nancy Cox-Godfrey, Shelley Raymond, Heather Berg, Laurie Campbell, Laurie Lamont, Holly Goldthorp, Jasmine Arney, Marnee Reid, Tara Kinden, Wendy Dingman, Jo Walton, Karen Bullock, Kim Jackson, Fran Gower and Glad Bryce.
Some of the nominees are nominated in multiple categories.
The nominees will be feted at the 11th annual Women of Distinction Awards gala set for Thursday, Nov. 1, in the Mark O’Meara Ballroom in Huntsville.
“A woman of distinction makes a positive difference in the life of others in our community – that is the bottom line,” stated Jennifer Starratt, YWCA board member and chair of the 2012 gala, in a media release. “There is an endless variety of ways that she might contribute. She might be a family member, teacher or friend; she could be a neighbour or colleague, or an attendant at a local business. A positive outlook and sunny disposition will go a long way these days, as does a friend who is there when you need her and never asks anything in return.”
Ross said the gala is one of the largest fundraisers of the year for the non-profit organization. Along with dinner, keynote speaker and a celebration of area women, the event includes a silent auction.
“Because YWCA doesn’t have any ongoing funding from any agency, it relies 100 per cent on funds raised or through grants,” she said. “This is really a key fundraiser for the organization.”
She said funds raised through the event will go toward programs in Muskoka.
YWCA Muskoka aims to create a safe, inclusive community advancing gender equity through leadership, partnerships and advocacy. The organization serves more than 1,500 individuals in over 25 locations across Muskoka through services and activities relevant to the needs of women and girls in the community.
Those programs include school leadership events for girls and Women in Business workshops and seminars.
The gala on Nov. 1 will begin with a cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and a keynote address by Senator Nancy Ruth, who is a lifelong supporter of women and girls’ rights in Canada. Special tributes to each nominee and announcement of the award recipients will follow the address.
Tickets are $80 and are available online at ywcamuskoka.com. Tables are available to purchase/reserve by calling the office directly at 705-645-9827.