Oak Bay will hand out YES Awards this year with a pandemic appropriate event in late May or early June. (Black Press Media file photo)

Oak Bay will hand out YES Awards this year with a pandemic appropriate event in late May or early June. (Black Press Media file photo)

Pandemic can’t stop Oak Bay from recognizing youth with YES Awards

Nominations open for 14th annual Young Exceptional Stars Awards until May 7

Each year Oak Bay recognizes the accomplishments of students who have overcome obstacles to achieve their goals – handing out hardware and accolades at a gala dinner event for the district’s Young Exceptional Star Awards. The annual YES Awards are open to students, in Grade 6 and up, who live or attend school in Oak Bay. A recipient would excel in academics, community service, arts or athletics or overcoming obstacles.

“We really had to rethink how we were going to do the awards. But I felt it was really important to do them, even thought they’re going to look very different than past years,” said organizer Coun. Hazel Braithwaite. “As an adult I know how the pandemic has affected me … for the youth they need some normalcy in their lives, this will be a little bit of that. We really do need to celebrate.”

Braithwaite created the YES Awards during her first term on council. It was a way to recognize youth, bring in business to help with that recognition, and invite the seniors’ group leadership to remind them of good works by youth in the community. The goal is to emphasize a variety of talents, efforts and character beyond athletics and academics.

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In 13 years Oak Bay has recognized nearly 150 youth.

Local businesses cover the costs associated with the event and awards, and will continue to for this 14th annual event, despite the pandemic.

While there will be no dinner, a pandemic-appropriate form of celebration is expected in late May or early June. Recipients are also recognized in a special section of the Oak Bay News.

Nomination forms have gone out to the schools and youth groups and are available online at oakbay.ca/parks-recreation/programs-registration/youth-programs. The deadline for nominations is May 7. Nominations must be submitted to Caroline Lawrence, sports coordinator, at clawrence@oakbay.ca or fax to 250-370-7127.

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