Community Leader Awards: Leader of the Year Curtis McTavish

The Kelowna Capital News Leader of the Year, sponsored by Okanagan College, is Curtis McTavish

By Mike Straus

Curtis McTavish was named the Capital News’ Community Leader of the Year at the 4th Annual Kelowna Capital News Community Leader Awards, held at Okanagan College, Oct. 23, 2017. The Community Leader of the Year Award is given to a local member of the community who demonstrates exceptional commitment and leadership.

McTavish currently works as the Regional Manager for Axis Family Resources, where he leads a team of community service workers who provide the BC Interior with inclusive community living services, psychological and behavioural support, emergency crisis response services, and youth life skills coaching, among other services.

On the weekends, McTavish volunteers his time as a facilitator at a drug and alcohol counselling program at Valiant Recovery. McTavish currently cares for three foster children (two boys and a girl, ages 3, 5, and 7) and a rescue dog.

McTavish was nominated by Darla Deter of Kelowna, who has known McTavish for over 20 years.

Says Deter: “Curtis just never stops! If you had known him 20 years ago, you may have had a few choice labels for him – but if you met him today…Curtis is a true champion. I can hardly contain my excitement when speaking of him. Curtis has had an impact on the lives of many in our community, and he’s definitely one of my personal real life heroes.”

Deter points to McTavish’s flawless and enthusiastic management of his heavy workload as a trait that sets him apart.

McTavish chose to start working in addictions counselling after his own personal experience with addiction prompted him to change his path and instilled in him a desire to give back to the community. He says that the most rewarding part of his work is seeing program clients meet their goals.

(Picture: Kelowna Capital News leader of the year Curtis McTavish (middle) and sponsors Phil Ashman and Kathy Butler of Okanagan College. – Image: Capital News)

“It takes a community to raise these kids. It’s rewarding to see other service providers and staff come together to help people. I’m not a front-line worker anymore, but I still like to play a part in helping people meet their goals.”

McTavish says that addictions counselling and social work are stressful disciplines where long hours are the norm, as in any caregiver industry. McTavish navigates these challenges by investing in self-care. He’s always trying to learn something new, he says, and relying on those around him for assistance when it’s needed is an essential practice.

McTavish is a motorcycle enthusiast, and he enjoys going on short motorcycle rides on evenings and weekends.

“I love it when I can take advantage of an hour or two every so often to just go ride. I like going to the shows that the bike shops put on. I love hockey, too – both playing and watching.”

A family man, McTavish prizes his time with his spouse, Heather, and their children. He says that Heather is an important part of making his home life and work life work well together.

Says McTavish: “We are the product of the company we keep. The only way I’ve been able to do this is by surrounding myself with like-minded people.”

McTavish’s next priority is to continue growing Axis Family Resources’ capacity as an agency and to continue reaching out to those in need.

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