By Brenda Giesbrecht
Betty Cleland was named a Capital News’ Community Leader of the Year in the mentor category at the 4th Annual Kelowna Capital News Community Leader Awards, held at Okanagan College, Oct. 23, 2017. The Community Leader Awards are given to local members of the community who demonstrate exceptional commitment and leadership.
Working with the Miss Kelowna Lady of the Lake Society, Betty Cleland provides both leadership and mentorship to the young people who go through the program.
“I see the value in working together to make things happen in our community,” she said, noting that as one of the driving factors of her work as a mentor both in her professional life and in her involvement with the Miss Kelowna Lady of the Lake (LOTL) Society.
Cleland first became involved with the LOTL Society when her daughter Breanne was selected as Miss Kelowna in 2010. After that experience as a parent, she chose to give back to the program as a volunteer.
Miss Kelowna and Kelowna’s Princess are youth ambassadors for the city during their one-year term, and she is their mentor and chaperone during that time.
The ladies go from being carefree youth to young adults with responsibilities. They are often in the public eye while they are ambassadors. Cleland helps guide them as they volunteer with various groups and work at events such as RibFest, Scarecrow Festival and Run for the Cure, as just a few examples.
The ladies meet with community leaders, network with fellow youth leaders, and represent the city at functions throughout the province. They are also members of the BC Ambassador Program. Throughout all these activities, Cleland encourages them, adds a little boost to their confidence when required, offers suggestions when she sees the need, but most of all, encourages them to have fun.
“As much as I am in a mentorship role, the learning is bi-directional,” said Cleland. “While working with the ambassadors, there is much opportunity to share life experiences and discuss values and goals while on the road debriefing an event. I am continuously inspired by their desire to make a difference in their world today by using their skills and their commitment to grow personally and professionally.”
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