Rotarians Rod Wainwright and Dan Bennett help kick off a new SASSY program

Youthful ‘sassiness’ celebrated in new Langley awards program

Langley youth, who excel and give back, can earn honours and cash.

To say someone has sass, well, it’s often perceived as a derogatory characteristic.

To say a Langley youth is SASSY, well… that’s taking on a whole new meaning this year, thanks to local Rotarians.

Members of the Langley Rotary Clubs want to take the sting out of “sassy” by introducing a new program – aptly called the SASSY Awards – that will spotlight Langley youth who shine.

Much like they did with the five-year run of Langley Has Talent, members of the four Rotary Clubs in Langley have come together again to introduce this new program acknowledging local youth who excel in their field of interest.

But moreover, explained SASSY co-coordinator and Rotarian Rod Wainwright, this new program will honour youth who also give back to their community in a significant way.

This program is designed to give ongoing support for the initiatives of youth in the communities who are currently making, or wanting to, make a difference, Wainwright elaborated.

“We are not just looking for youth who excel in their chosen fields, but ones who also give back in a meaningful way, and will look to the teachers and counsellors to help us identify deserving nominees,” said Wainwright, who was recently selected as the businessperson of the year by the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce.

The new program is named the SASSY, which stands for Service Above Self in Students & Youth. And the name incorporates the Rotary motto of Service Above Self (that SAS of SASSY).

This program will honour youth between the ages of 15 and 21, who live or study in Langley.

Awards will be given in eight categories: community service, international service, performing arts, visual arts, overcoming adversity, sportsmanship, youth leadership, and environmental leadership.

Each year, one youth in each categories will receive a $1,000 bursary – $500 of which must be donated to a registered charity of their choice – plus a “stylized” SASSY award trophy, Wainwright said.

The inaugural awards will be presented, in a Juno-style SASSY ceremony being held Friday, May 6 at the Chief Sepass Theatre in Fort Langley.

The evening, Wainwright said, will include the awards presentations, videos highlighting each of the three finalists in all eight categories, plus live performances (possibly by some familiar faces from the past Langley Has Talent stages) that will be incorporated throughout the show.

A program with history

Rotary Clubs around the world are known for a number of their youth initiatives they’ve been running for years, including the Rotary Youth Exchange, leadership initiatives, and Rotoract.

The SASSY program is relatively new. It was originated six years ago in the neighbouring communities of Surrey and White Rock.

“The Langley clubs have had the benefit of building on the White Rock/Surrey success,” said co-chair Dan Bennett, a fellow Rotarian and local realtor.

“Our goal is to provide ongoing support for the youth of today, who will be the volunteers, involved citizens, and leaders of tomorrow.”

The program recognizes, acknowledges, and celebrates the achievements of youth who, he said, “exemplify the ideals of Rotary, as role models for other youth to say ‘I can do that, too.’ However, the piece we think will have a major impact is providing a hand up to at risk youth in the hope that they will also be tomorrow’s achievers, making a positive contribution to our communities.”

Bennett and Wainwright are reaching out to the Langley School District, as well as Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and Trinity Western University to spread word about the new program and encourage nominations.

As well, nomination forms will be available online to the public in early February, at http://sassyawardslangley.ca/.

Once shortlisted, the top three nominees in each of the eight categories will then move on to an interview process. A video will be produced about each of the finalists, with the eight winners announced at the May 6 event.

• Stay tuned to the Langley Advance for more on the SASSY Awards

Just Posted

COMMUTER ALERT: Serious pedestrian crash closes Pacific Highway

Traffic along 176th Street, 4th to 8th Avenue, is blocked while Mounties continue to investigate.

Giants owner Ron Toigo to get BC Sports Hall of Fame W.A.C. Bennett Award

Head of Langley-based hockey team to be honoured at May induction gala

UPDATED: Touching note left on Langley veteran’s windshield

A veteran hopes the writers of a note know how much he was touched by their kind words. They do.

VIDEO: Young Langley boy uses his grief to help other kids suffering loss

Thursday Langley Hospice hosts its Paint the Town Blue campaign to spotlight child bereavement.

LETTER: Canada should not be selling weapons abroad

A Langley man is critical of Canada for selling arms that are being used to kill civilians.

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Tubing, skating, light display part of new winter festival in Vancouver

Set to open Nov. 23, the six-week festival will take over Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Centre

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Regulatory confusion over ‘toxic’ stink near Abbotsford school

Officials sniffing out which regulators responsible for enforcing compliance at neighbouring property

Most Read