Last year’s Spirit of Ladysmith Community Awards winners gather for a group photo following the gala. This year

Last year’s Spirit of Ladysmith Community Awards winners gather for a group photo following the gala. This year

Nominations now being accepted for Spirit Awards

You have until March 19 to nominate individuals, businesses and organizations for Spirit of Ladysmith Community Awards.

As the Spirit of Ladysmith Community Awards celebrate their 10th year this spring, they’ll recognize local businesses, individuals and organizations in new ways.

Nominations are now open for the “Spirit Awards,” and you have until March 19 to nominate individuals, businesses and organizations that have made an impact on you.

The Spirit of Ladysmith Community Awards, which are sponsored by the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce, will take place Friday, April 11 at Ladysmith Secondary School (LSS).

“The intention is really to celebrate Ladysmith and what we represent in our community,” said Alana Newton, a director with the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce and chair of the Spirit Awards. “The community isn’t just built by one; it’s built by many.”

The Spirit Awards recognize achievement and leadership by individuals and organizations for making an impact in and around Ladysmith. This year, the Chamber of Commerce is working closely with LSS to present the awards.

“We thought to change up the venue a little bit, and in talking with LSS, we felt it was really an opportunity to engage our youth in the school,” said Newton, noting LSS students will be cooking the appetizers for the gala. “They’re so talented. They do so much, and the kids love to share their talents. We’re looking at this hopefully as a tradition that will continue because we’ll always have kids and they are our future.”

The awards themselves are also changing a bit this year.

There will be a new Wall of Fame, which will honour local service clubs, non-profit organizations and groups.

The Chamber of Commerce wants to honour all community, not-for-profit and service organizations that evening with a special tribute and is asking organizations in town to e-mail admin@ladysmithcoc.com before Monday, March 31 with the name of their organization and their electronic logo so that they can be included.

“We have so many great non-profit organizations and service clubs that make Ladysmith a great place that we want to celebrate them all and recognize them,” said Newton.

One new category this year that will be recognized is the President’s Award. This category is not a nomination category but will be presented by the president of the Chamber of Commerce to an individual, business or organization that has made a significant contribution to Ladysmith in leadership and business.

During the April 11 awards gala, there will be a Red Carpet and a Wall of Fame, as well as music, appetizers and refreshments.

LSS principal Dave Street will be the guest speaker, and he will be speaking about how our youth is our future in business and leadership in our community.

“When I approached Dave about getting the high school together, his enthusiasm was just over the moon, and he thought this was perfect,” said Newton. “He really loves his kids, and he celebrates those kids all the time and is so proud of them. He sees the whole picture of these kids hopefully staying around Ladysmith and becoming business owners. When I approached him, he was quite humbled. I think he’ll do a great job.”

Awards include Outstanding Customer Service, Volunteer of the Year, Youth of the Year, Business of the Year (1-10 employees), Business of the Year (11+ employees), Entrepreneur of the Year, Best Home Based Business, Arts & Culture Award, and Green Award.

Tickets to the gala will be available starting March 19 for $20, and Newton encourages people to get them early, as only 120 will be printed.

All forms required to nominate someone for an award are available on the Chamber website, and they will also be available in stores around town.

Nomination forms must be submitted to the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce in person, by mail (to 411B First Ave., PO Box 598, Ladysmith, B.C., V9G 1A4), fax (to 250-245-2124) or e-mail (to admin@ladysmithcofc.com)by Wednesday, March 19.

The nominations will be judged by an independent panel, and Newton encourages people who nominate an individual or business to provide as much information about their nominees as they can.

“We’re not looking for essays — it can be point-form — but give us information,” she said. “What sets them apart and makes them deserving of winning?”

Newton encourages people to take the time to learn about the individuals or businesses they are nominating and find out how they contribute in other ways in Ladysmith and include that information in the nomination. The judges will be looking for as much information as possible to make the best decision in awarding the category.

“Last year, I nominated Uforik Computers for the outstanding service I had received over time,” she said. “I went in and talked to Aaron and Jamie and wanted to know how else they contribute to the community. I learned they volunteer for sports, contribute to schools offer discounts, etc. I would never have known that if I hadn’t asked them. They were excited about the nomination and in fact, did win. Their award is proudly displayed in their store.”

Winners will receive a print donated by local artist Leona Petrak.

Newton says the Chamber of Commerce could always use volunteers to help decorate and help during the night of the Spirit Awards, and they also have a few spots left for independent judges. Contact admin@ladysmithcofc.com if you are interested.