As executive director of Leadership Victoria, Mark Crocker is always proud to explain what the organization does.

“Leadership Victoria helps leaders in Victoria, or the CRD [Capital Regional District], stand out and make a lasting difference,” says Crocker.  “We create, we celebrate, and we develop the leaders of Victoria.

“Our intention is to highlight those people who maybe you don’t necessarily see their work every day…they are not front and center, they’re not necessarily the most public figures…but they are the people making the lasting long-term difference in our communities.”

And this night is a gathering of winners of Victoria Community Leadership Awards, or VCLA’s.

The VCLA’s is an event to celebrate community leadership and recognize those who have made a lasting contribution to the Greater Victoria communities.

“I’m so amazed and delighted to be here!” says Pacific Opera Victoria mezzo-soprano Rebecca Hass, one of the VCLA recipients.

Hass is the community development director for the opera company.

“I’ve been an opera singer for about thirty years plus, and I was looking for other ways to manifest, as I age with my voice, and this opportunity to go into community and find new ways to bring the resource that is the Opera company has been astonishing.

“It’s an amazing community to work with, and I feel so lucky. I’m Metis on my father’s side, and so having a chance to also walk in my culture, and make a difference in community has been a huge opportunity for me!” says Hass.

Ruth Mojeed was honoured to receive the “Getting Started in our Community” award.

“As a newcomer to Canada myself,” says Mojeed, “I’ve been engaging a lot with stakeholders and newcomers trying to find a place in the community. [The award] is about the work that I get to do, contributing to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our little community.”

There are 20 award winners. Categories range from Lifelong Learning to Innovative Science and Technology, and Healthy Safe Environments.   That award was won by 12-year-old Rebecca Wolf Gage, who founded the Victoria Youth Climate Strike.

“The IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] says that we have 30 years to stop climate change before it’s irreversible. And so, my future is being stolen and we’re here to take it back!” says Wolf Gage.

You can congratulate these community leaders on May 23 at the VCLA’s award ceremony at Government House.

“It’s going to be a great celebration,” says Crocker. “There’s going to be lots of great food and drink, we of course have a fantastic DJ that’s coming out, and we’re going to share the story of these amazing leaders and what they’re doing in the community.”

Click here to learn more about the VCLA’s.

Veronica Cooper