Barrie awards catch spirit of community

Do you know someone who is worthy of recognition for catching the spirit of community? A rhetorical question, of course, but one designed to continue the process of recognizing exceptional people in the community.
Nominations are now open for the annual Spirit Catcher Awards, the City of Barrie’s program to honour those in our midst whose efforts better the community. They may not seek recognition, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve it.
The awards program has two categories, one for adults and the other for youths aged 12 to 18. Requirements are few, and are: must be a “dedicated volunteer,” must have made, or continues to make a significant long-term contribution to the lifestyle of the community, must have, through exceptional achievement, benefited others and brought honour to the community.
The program was initiated in 2000 by the city council of the day, using as its symbol the image of the Spirit Catcher, the iconic steel winged bird that sits on the shore of Kempenfelt Bay, just north of the city marina. Artist Ron Baird created the sculpture for the 1986 expo in Vancouver.
Its roots in Barrie are tied to the MacLaren Art Centre. Back when the centre was known as the Barrie Gallery Project, the Helen McCrea Peacock Foundation purchased it, donating it to the project in 1987. The work turned out to be the centre’s first piece in its permanent collection, and remains its largest.
The Spirit Catcher also has roots in First Nations’ mysticism, recalling the story of the Thunderbird, a messenger who carries dreams and desires to the Creator.
Nomination forms are available at the city clerk’s office, 70 Collier Street, or can be downloaded. The program is open until Oct. 28, with award recipients being announced in December by the Spirit Catcher Award Committee.

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