Judith Guichon

Judith Guichon

Guichon rallies community spirit

Judith Guichon, B.C.’s lieutenant governor, spoke at Vernon's Harwood Elementary School Tuesday

Students at a Vernon school are being called on to show leadership.

Judith Guichon, B.C.’s lieutenant governor, spoke at Harwood Elementary School Tuesday and her message focused around responsibility, respect and relationships.

“You must get involved in your community,” she said.

“You can help and learn to volunteer. Help your neighbour carry groceries or shovel snow.”

Guichon pointed out that the students will eventually become parents, community leaders and elected officials.

“In the future, it will be your job to protect our precious freedoms,” she said.

Guichon, who is the Queen’s representative in B.C., was previously involved in hospital boards, recycling programs, the Fraser Basin Council and the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association.

She spent much of her time at the school  explaining her duties, including reading the throne speech, which outlines the government’s plans, and providing royal assent to legislation.

“Lieutenant governors are watchdogs. We ensure the politicians keep society civil,” she said.

Another critical part of her job is promoting excellence and achievement.

“I get to honour great British Columbians who give of their time to make life better for all of us,” she said, who is currently in the first year of a five-year term.

“I want to go to as many communities in this beautiful and diverse province as possible.”

Besides Harwood, Guichon was at George Elliot Secondary School in Lake Country Tuesday, while also attending tea at Vernon’s Schubert Centre and a reception for non-profit groups hosted by Junior Chamber International.

She also took part in a luncheon that profiled the activities of the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan.

The foundation administers endowment funds that generate revenue to support community-based organizations.

“It’s a huge privilege to see the difference that it has made,” said David Hockley, a foundation director.

“But more requests come in than we can meet in grant presentations.”

As part of its focus, the foundation has developed the Smart and Caring Community Fund program. The goal is to expand the number of people involved in philanthropy.

A fund can be created if a donor commits $1,000 a year for five years.

“We want to make it more accessible for people,” said Leanne Hammond, fund development officer for the community foundation.

Guichon says she’s impressed with the work of the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan.

“We are all responsible for leaving our communities and province in as good if not better condition,” she said.

Today, Guichon will visit Pleasant Valley Secondary School in Armstrong and A.L. Fortune Secondary School in Enderby.