by Kiersten Mohr
I was honoured and excited to accept the torch from Kayla and assume the role of President of Airdrie Pride at the beginning of this month. I first connected with Airdrie Pride when I was looking for support before my gender transition. When I worked up the courage to reach out at this critical moment in my journey, Airdrie Pride was there for me. So, I understand first hand how vital our organization can be and want to ensure that we are there for anyone that needs us in the future.
I want to thank the founding board members (Kayla Jessen, Fred Burley, and Daniel Nickerson) for boldly establishing Airdrie Pride and keeping the torch going over the last four years. Their work and commitment have laid the necessary foundation for us to continue building an essential support in our community.
I am filled with excitement as we step into this next chapter of Airdrie Pride’s history and am confident that, because of the beautiful people that make up our board, we can not fail. As I looked around the table at our AGM, I smiled knowing that each one of us brings powerful experience and something special and unique to this cause. This diversity in all of us is weaved together with the same thread of passion and commitment to building Airdrie Pride into a visible and robust organization in our community.
I am excited to continue to work with Candice Kutyn, our new Vice President, who brings her incredible passion, huge heart and wealth of knowledge to the table. Similarly, Tammy Plunkett, our new secretary, brings her love for our community, broad skill set and enthusiasm for positive and meaningful change. I am grateful for Kayla Jessen deciding to stay on as Treasurer which provides us with the continued privilege of learning from her experience and leveraging the unwavering passion she brings to this cause. Fred Burley, Dan Nickerson and Terry Collins round out our board bringing consistency, enthusiasm and trusted connections into our community. I am excited to see the power of this group come together and transform Airdrie Pride into a potent force in our community.
Over the past year, we have been working diligently behind the scenes to build a strategy and framework for the Airdrie Pride Society. For each one of us, it is essential that this society is built in a such a way which guarantees sustainability into the future. We recognize that Airdrie Pride is bigger than any one of us and needs to be here long after us.
We have agreed on three main pillars of focus for the society. The first of those is to support and empower LGBTQ2+ youth in our city. In 2017, in conjunction with Community Links and our fantastic Youth, we created PRYSM (PRide Youth Social Movement). This group provides an opportunity for local youth, regardless of their school affiliation, to connect on a monthly basis with other youth around the city. On top of being a fun and social gathering, we want to use our experience and voice to help youth build powerful skill sets and confidence, arming them to be active and influential leaders with bold voices in our community.
Secondly, we will focus on building an active and visible LGBTQ2+ presence in Airdrie. The board is unified in our belief that we NEVER want anyone to have to leave Airdrie to find their community. To accomplish this, we will continue to run our monthly Parenting with Pride support group, Community Coffee, be present at local events, build inclusive events of our own, and work within our city to ensure that everyone is comfortable and safe.
Lastly, we will work to foster and reinforce supportive connections for LGBTQ2+ within Airdrie, Calgary and surrounding areas. We will evaluate existing services and supports and, wherever feasible, build safe and trusted relationships that will maximize support and opportunity for our community. This work is already well underway with established connections with Airdrie Community Links, Skipping Stone Foundation, and Calgary Sexual Health.
I am incredibly confident that the future is bright (and full of Rainbows!) for the Airdrie Pride Society. I am incredibly excited to work with this engaged, passionate and talented board. I am filled with great optimism that Airdrie (and surrounding area) is rich with opportunities and full of supportive and beautiful people. All of this together is a recipe for success, and I cannot wait to see what we accomplish.
Lastly, we can use all the help we can get! If anyone out there wants to get involved, please reach out! We would love to hear from you.