Five months of hard work culminated in graduation and celebration for Kyuquot nation staff.
Thirteen Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/ Che:k:tles7et’h citizans gathered at the nation’s new administrative office Aug. 10 to take part in their Leadership Essentials graduation ceremonies.
Offered by Vancouver Island University, the Leadership Essentials Training program was offered to Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k:tles7et’h First Nations staff.
Taken over five months, the 12-module course provides students with the practical skills necessary for establishing and maintaining strong relationships.
“It supports the principle that all of us are leaders–at home and at work–whether we are parents, co-workers or supervising team members on the job,” said Marion Knost, VIU administrative coordinator.
According to Knost, bringing the program to Kyuquot would have been cost prohibitive, but with support from the provincial government in the form of training funds from the Employment Skills Training Program, as well as a bulk of the financial support from Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k:tles7et’h Administration, locals were able to take the course right in their own community.
Sharon de Lure was contracted to facilitate the Leadership Essentials to 21 Kyuquot members. Over time, a few left the class, but more than half stayed the course and completed the training and are now armed with new skills that would help them and their communities well into the future.
Knost conveyed congratulations from Chief Shawn Atleo and VIU President Dr. Ralph Neilson.
An emotional Sharon praised her graduating students, telling them they all took risks beyond what she expected of them.
“I’m going to miss you. I love you all,” she said through her tears.
She encouraged them to continue to work on their leadership skills by redoing online modules and reviewing their books.
“I hope you all take the skills and work through the challenges and keep taking risks because I know you have the skills and knowledge,” she told them.
Before presenting them with gifts, de Lure focused special attention on each student, sharing what she admired about them.
To Kevin Jules, the youngest male in the program, she said, “You have an open mind and you blew my mind when you showed me how much you know.”
Arlene Smith was noted as a focused, quiet leader, while Carol Smith was told he is a quiet contributor and a caring, hard worker.
“Allison Vincent, you are a leader with an amazing grasp of all skill points,” said Knost.
For Velina Vincent, she said, “you are a true thinker; a very thoughtful person who takes nothing for granted. I don’t come across people like you often; you are a rare, rare thinker.”
To Virginia Vincent, she said, “you have a great sense of humor. I loved the humor you brought to the role plays.”
Of Devon Hansen she said “You are who you are; a true learner. You will take these skills and you will go far,” Knost told Hansen.
“Lorissa Hansen was a huge contributor to classroom discussions; there were some things you were not comfortable with but you did your best even though it wasn’t easy for anyone. Thank you for making a great effort,” Knost said to Lorissa.
“Jennifer Hanson helped me by organizing each class before taking on her role as a student,” said de Lure as she thanked Hanson for her invaluable assistance. “You are always smiling, never ruffled, you’re so relaxed!” she added.
Peter Hanson is one of two men who stayed with the class. de Lure said he is a true thinker, focused, consistent and a caring role model for others.
Daizee Hanson was thanked for her contributions and acknowledged for her amazing grasp of the skill points.
“You brought a lot of experience and wisdom,” said de Lure. Daizee was asked to consider co-facilitating a future Leadership Essentials program either in Kyuquot or in other communities.
Lillian Jack is a quiet participant but is always tuned in, listening and learning.
“You have so much to offer; knowledge, wisdom and I hope you continue to take the risks,” de Lure told Jack.
To Shirley Hansen, de Lure said, “you wanted to learn and put in 150 per cent effort every time. You were a huge contributor in small groups. Trust your knowledge because do have it.”
By Denise Titian