The motto of the Rotary Club of Burns Lake is ‘Service Above Self’, a motto which implies putting the service and needs of another individual and of the community above your own.
Each year the Rotary Club of Burns Lake selects one young member of the Burns Lake community who exemplifies this motto in their actions to help the people and community of Burns Lake and awards them with the Bill Gilgan Youth Citizen of the Year award.
The recipient of this year’s Bill Gilgan Youth Citizen of the Year award is Andre Dube.
To be considered for the youth citizen of the year award a candidate must be between the ages of 12-21-years-old, and be someone who embodies the rotarian value of ‘Service Above Self’ through their volunteer activities locally, nationally or globally.
“Andre was chosen because of his vast array of volunteer activities and the impact his activities have had on the community,” Leone McHugh, Rotary Club of Burns Lake member said, “He is an excellent example for his peers and has proven himself to be a personable and compassionate leader.”
Dube, who recently received his high school diploma after graduating from Lakes District Secondary School (LDSS) this past June, has volunteered and been a part of a number of different societies and clubs the past few years, and has been involved in a number of sports during his time attending LDSS.
Over the past five years he has put in more than 300 hours building, maintaining, designing and cleaning up bike trails each week throughout the summer for the Burns Lake Mountain Bike Association, and he’s been an instructor at the mountain bike associations bike camps.
Dube has also been a part of the LDSS Rotary Interact Club since 2009, where he has help to raise money for the ‘Free the Children’ foundation, which aims to provide clean water and new schools for children in under developed countries.
As well, as a part of the Rotary Interact Club, Dube helped to raise over $10,000 for Shelter Box Canada for victims of the earthquake in Haiti and for victims of the tsunami in Sri Lanka between 2009-2011.
Along with his volunteer work over the past number of years, Dube has also been an exceptional athlete at the high school level, representing LDSS and the community of Burns Lake on multiple occasions.
He qualified each year of his high school career for the ski and snowboard team, and placed no lower than third place as a team at the provincial championships, while winning the team championship in 2012.
As well he was the individual male champion at this year’s provincial championships and has medal each year in the ‘heavy bike’ category at the mountain bike provincial championships.
Finally, he has been named the male athlete of the year at LDSS for four straight years.
McHugh said that Dube’s volunteer efforts and excelling as an elite athlete all while maintain high marks in school is what distinguished him as a leading candidate for the honour.
“[He] distinguished himself by maintaining straight ‘A’s’ and excelling as an elite athlete, as well as being a kind and respectful citizen of our community,” McHugh said.
Dube said he started to become involved when he realized just who was responsible for the hard work that went into maintaining the facilities he enjoyed using.
“I realized that all the amazing facilities that I used were maintained by volunteers,” Dube said, “This award is amazing and I appreciate it a lot.”
Currently, Dube works for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, Wildfire Management Branch as a firefighter for the Northwest Fire Centre base here in Burns Lake, and he plans to attend school at the University of Northern British Columbia starting in the fall semester to study environmental engineering.
“My community has given me so much and I felt that it was time to give back,” Dube said.
As part of winning the youth citizen of the year award, Dube received $500 in prize money from the Rotary Club of Burns Lake, $250 of which to donate to the cause of his choice.
Dube said he will be donating the money to the bike skills and development camp run each year by the Burns Lake Mountain Bike Association because it is “teaching kids to stay active and be healthy.”
The other half of the prize money will go to the cause of which the nominator will chose.
McHugh says that Dube has set the bar when it comes to youth serving the Burns Lake community.
“As with all great leaders, he sets the bar for others,” McHugh said, “He inspires us to find the best within ourselves.”