The Swift Current Ag and Ex hosted the Saskatchewan Association of Agriculture Societies and Exhibitions' two-day annual convention and Annual General Meeting on March 1 and 2 at the Stockade, which included a presentation of the SaskEnergy ‘Volunteer Champion’ Awards.
The awards are presented annually to recognize contributions made by Agricultural Society volunteers in three categories: an Anniversary Award for the agricultural society that is celebrating a significant milestone year; a Volunteer of the Year Award presented to the volunteer or couple who have made an outstanding contribution to their community; and an Honorary Life Membership Award for volunteers who have demonstrated a lifelong commitment to their community.
The Swift Current Ag and Ex’s Frontier Days won an Anniversary Award for celebrating their 75th Anniversary, while Bryce Burnett was recognized as the Volunteer of the Year, and Doug Smith was one of two nominees honoured for a lifetime of commitment to the Agricultural Society and community with an Honorary Life Membership in SAASE.
Typically, Burnett was volunteering at a bull sale when awards were presented March 2, so Ag & Ex president Wade Jensen accepted on his behalf. Burnett was nominated for the award because of his lifetime of dedication to the cattle industry as a producer; a 4-H leader and supporter; a Western Agribition Judge; a cowboy poet and entertainer; a patron and board member of the Swift Current/Webb Community Pasture; as well as his many roles in community fundraisers and on the Ag & Ex Board, and for his efforts to ensure that youth are involved in the future of the Ag & Ex through innovative programming.
Smith was recognized for his involvement with the Swift Current Ag & Ex dating back to 1972, as well as his work as a softball, baseball and hockey coach in the community.
Leslie Gosselin, Manager, Advertising and Community Relations, SaskEnergy explained that SaskEnergy first became involved as the ‘Champion of Volunteers’ with financial assistance at the Canada Games in 2005, and since then they have supported volunteers working for the Tim Horton’s Briar, the Grey Cup, the Saskatchewan Winter and Summer Games and many other events, to recognize 'the positive ways they use their energy.'
“What we’ve learned by doing that is that’s the secret behind every successful event – all of the people who so selflessly give of their time. I think this organization’s a perfect example of that.”
“They’re a great resource,” said Jensen of both SAASE and SaskEnergy, "and I’m always happy when I can see that kind of partnership and those bridges develop, something I firmly believe in. I’m involved in quite a few community organizations and try to bridge those gaps – tourism, Ag and Ex, local sports teams – try to build those bridges.
“This is a great example of building those bridges and utilizing those tools that are out there for all of us to make all of our communities stronger, better, and at the end of the day more fun for everyone.”