When the stand-alone Jim Kook Citizen of the Year award ceremony was rehauled and had grown into what’s known today as the Community Appreciation Awards, it included perhaps an equally-important award that puts a spotlight on those up-and-comers in Outlook and the surrounding area who are doing their part to make their hometown a better place – the Youth of the Year award.
This year’s recipient is 17-year old Kendyl Stephenson, a Grade 12 student at Outlook High School who many point to as being a role model for younger students, and an exceptional ambassador for the school who is proud to “bleed Blue”.
The Outlook caught up with Kendyl at last week’s track & field meet at OHS, and the humble teen said she was flabbergasted when she was told she’d won the prestigious honor of being named Youth of the Year.
“I was kind of shocked because I don’t think I do that much in the community, but apparently everyone else thinks I do!” she laughed.
In her spare time and outside of the classroom, Stephenson enjoys playing sports, riding her horses at her family’s farm near Outlook, and spending a lot of time outdoors in other activities. When she’s not enjoying time to herself, she gives back through her school and helping those younger than her excel in other areas.
“I volunteer through the school,” said Kendyl. “I did Meals on Wheels, I coached junior teams, and I volunteered by coaching some track and field athletes.”
Those who find the time to volunteer tend to agree that it’s an important part of being immersed in any community, particularly when you can help others try their best at something you may be well-versed.
“I do think it’s important to give back,” said Stephenson. “I also think it’s cool to give back when you’ve spent your life doing so much of the same thing.”
Kendyl, who this fall is headed to Lethbridge to study nursing, likes the modest pace of life in Outlook, but agrees with the sentiment that most people adhere to that the town is ‘just right’; not too small, not too big.
“I like that it’s small,” she said. “It’s not a tiny town, and there’s still stuff to do, and it’s just a nice town that seems to be big enough.”
Stephenson believes Outlook stands out among other communities because the citizens and the businesses in town work together to help the area grow and foster a prosperous future.
“I think that there are a lot of different ways that you can give back to Outlook,” she said. “They’re the ones who keep everything going such as all the activities, and all the community businesses also help keep things running. I think that’s kind of cool.”
As for what Kendyl would tell someone who was perhaps looking to move to Outlook, she says that people can enjoy the pace of life at their own leisure, and it’s easy to discover what the community can offer them.
“I’d tell them that it’s a very relaxed town, and there’s a lot that you can see and do for the most part,” she said.
Kendyl Stephenson will be honored as the 2018 Youth of the Year at the Community Appreciation Awards banquet on Thursday, May 30 at the Outlook Civic Centre.