Stettler’s Dakota Derr wins ‘Youth Citizen of the Year’

Stettler’s Dakota Derr wins ‘Youth Citizen of the Year’

Derr has long demonstrated a passion for volunteering in the community

At 15 years of age, Stettler’s Dakota Derr has already discovered the rich rewards of community service through volunteering.

Derr is being honoured as ‘Youth Citizen of the Year’ at the Stettler Awards Gala being held Oct. 22nd. Hosted by the Stettler Regional Board of Trade and Development, the event is being live streamed for the public to view on the Board of Trade’s Facebook page.

For many years, the Stettler Awards Gala has been a prestigious event where citizens have an opportunity to honour the accomplishments of local businesses and citizens.

“I was amazed,” she said, recalling when she heard the news that she had landed the award. “I was in shock!”

A cheerful young lady who is always willing to lend a helping hand, Derr is also following in the footsteps of her mom Tanya who won ‘Female Citizen of the Year’ at last year’s awards ceremony.

In the meantime, Dakota is happy to not only to help out where she can, but to connect with others through the several groups that she is involved with.

“I volunteer at the Heartland Youth Centre,” she said during a recent chat. “This year, I’m part of the Keystone Club and last year I was in the Torch Club, and we went around and did community services things, like the Fireman’s Foodbank Blitz drive and doing set-up and take-down for the Festival of Lights.”

Dakota said the clubs also help to arrange donations for Christmas hampers, plus they have visited seniors in local long-term care facilities as well.

“We play games with them, and we will bring them Christmas cards,” she explained, adding that it’s the kind of gesture that helps to put a smile on residents’ faces. Plus, it provides a pretty good feeling for Dakota and the other volunteers as well.

“It’s just nice to help people out.”

Dakota is also a member of the local cadets, and has been part of that organization for about four years now. Some of their volunteer efforts include helping out at the local Legion, too.

According to the Stettler Air Cadets web site, “The aim of the Air Cadet Program is to develop in youth the attributes of good citizenship and leadership; promote physical fitness; and stimulate the interest of youth in the sea, land, and air activities of the Canadian Forces; however, each focuses on its own parent element. The Air Cadet motto is, ‘To learn. To serve. To advance’.

And those are the kind of characteristics that Dakota shows.

Looking ahead, Dakota said she really enjoys working with children so she plans to settle on a career path that includes connecting with youngsters, such as working as a counsellor for example.

Meanwhile, Tanya pointed out that her daughter is also a big help with a number of initiatives that Tanya is involved with around town as well.

“It gives her independence, and she’s learning those life skills as she is growing, too,” she explained of the influence community involvement has had on her daughter. “It’s important to be able to be aware of other people’s needs.”

Tanya said the Youth Centre also really encourages volunteering and helps to instill that sense of community spirit in young people.

“I went through the Youth Centre as a youth, then I became a staff member and now I’m a board member,” she explained. “So it’s been a big part of my life. Again, they are amazing at the Centre and they encourage them to do community service which makes you appreciate being able to go out and help others.”

Winnie Bissett, executive director of the Heartland Youth Centre, said that Dakota has not only grown up taking part in the programs at the Centre over the years, but is now increasingly taking on leadership roles, too.

“This summer, for instance, she was quite involved in our programs by volunteering a lot. Dakota is excellent with the kids – she is very patient, and she is a really good role model for them as well.

“We love having her here,” she added. “She comes in here with a really good attitude and a smile on her face.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
The County of Stettler has now been classified as an ‘enhanced’ region for COVID-19

According to the Province, there are now 10 active cases in the County, which has a population of 12,449 people

Annette Hunter
Clearview Public Schools and Alberta Teachers Association honours retiree Annette Hunter

Hunter taught Kindergarten, Grade 2, and Grade 3 over her 35-year career

A scene from last year’s Light the Night fundraising event at the Stettler Town and Country Museum. This year’s rendition is on a drive-through basis only, but it still promises to be a not-to-be-missed seasonal event.
Independent file photo
Stettler Town and Country Museum hosts ‘Light the Night’

This year’s rendition is drive-through only, but will still prove to be a dazzling display

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, confirmed eight additional virus-deaths Monday afternoon including one in central zone. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
New record: Red Deer at 236 active COVID cases

One more death in central zone reported

Janelle Robinson owns and operates Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler. The Ranch, just north of Stettler, is an animal therapy ranch that helps those with special needs and conditions ranging from PTSD to anxiety. Mark Weber/Stettler Independent
Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler provides support through animal interaction

‘I also come from a family of doers - if something that is needed isn’t there, you just figure it out’

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Executive Director and Co-Founder of Rock Soup Craig Haavalsen is sleeping in a tent outside Rock Soup’s location until the Go Fund Me for Rock Soup raises $10,000. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Putting normalcy into asking for help: New non-profit sets up in Wetaskiwin

Rock Soup non-profit is a new non-secular Food Bank putting down roots in Wetaskiwin.

Wetaskiwin Composite High School. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools prepare for transition back to online learning

Grades 7-12 will are mandated to transfer to online learning starting Nov. 30, 2020.

Lawyer Devon Page, Ecojustice Canada’s executive director, pauses during a news conference in Vancouver on Wed., Sept. 26, 2012. The environmental law group has lost its bid to pause Alberta’s inquiry into where critics of its oil and gas industry get their funding. Ecojustice sought an injunction this summer to suspend the inquiry, headed by forensic accountant Steve Allan, until there is a decision on whether it’s legal. nbsp;THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Judge tosses application to pause Alberta inquiry into funding of oil and gas foes

Ecojustice sought an injunction in the summer to suspend the inquiry

Janelle Robinson owns and operates Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler. The Ranch, just north of Stettler, is an animal therapy ranch that helps those with special needs and conditions ranging from PTSD to anxiety. Mark Weber/Stettler Independent
Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler provides support through animal interaction

‘I also come from a family of doers - if something that is needed isn’t there, you just figure it out’

A pedestrian makes their way through the snow in downtown Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Wild winter, drastic swings in store for Canada this year: Weather Network

In British Columbia and the Prairies, forecasters are calling for above-average snowfall levels

NDP Leader John Horgan, left, speaks as local candidate Ravi Kahlon listens during a campaign stop at Kahlon’s home in North Delta, B.C., on April 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Most Read