BAIE VERTE, NL — Surprised is an understatement for the reaction of Jaime-Robin Walsh when she was named Volunteer Youth of the Year for Baie Verte.
She didn’t even know the award existed.
The Town of Baie Verte created the award in this year as a way to encourage and recognize youth for their volunteer efforts in the community.
“It feels unreal actually,” Walsh said. “I still can’t believe it. I am really appreciative to receive something of that caliber. I am very happy.”
She is a deserving first recipient.
The Grade 12 student at Copper Ridge Academy is part of the leadership committee and is a sports coach for junior girls basketball, volleyball and badminton. Whenever events are happening in Baie Verte or at the school, Walsh is sure to be found participating and often leading the way.
“Volunteers basically drive activities for the community,” she said. “You need a sports coach to be able to have a team. You need someone to take score to have an actual game go ahead. Volunteers are what makes things work, and it is necessary to have them in a town.”
It is also something that she simply enjoys, and she hopes it makes a difference to others along the way.
“I like to believe I do,” Walsh said. “Kids see me at their practices and dedicating my time. I have had kids tell me they want to be a coach someday.”
Mayor Brandon Philpott said council felt volunteering is something often instilled within a person during their experiences as a youth. As they put an emphasis on recognizing and encouraging volunteers, awarding a youth for their efforts was something council deemed important.
“If we had half a dozen Jaime-Robins running around, we would certainly see a big uptake in people’s willingness to get involved,” he said. “A lot of times with youth, they often just need to see somebody involved and they’ll get involved themselves. Jaime-Robin is that example for other youth.”