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City of Airdrie announces 2014 Mayor for a Day winners

By: Allison Chorney

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jul 17, 2014 10:23 am

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After receiving 28 entries for the 2014 Mayor for a Day Challenge, the winners have been selected with Mackenzie Wood winning the middle school category and Breanne McPhee coming away on top for the high school category.

“I was shocked,” said Wood of her win, “and proud of myself for taking that chance and pushing myself. I thought it was a great way to start off the summer.”

The 13 year old, who will be entering Grade 9 at W.H. Croxford High School in September, submitted an idea for an attainable housing plan in Airdrie that would see builders in the community giving back by creating an Attainable Housing Fund.

“At the end of the year, builders would have a profit and I was hoping we could create a fund and put one to two per cent of the profit toward the fund,” she said. “The fund would be put toward helping find housing for people who were part of the program.”

She said another part of her idea was builders of multifamily units such as condos, could put aside one or two units and donate them to families or individuals in need.

Wood said she came up with the idea when she and her mom were donating clothes at a donation centre in Airdrie and a man asked if they had clothes they could give him. She said the man told them he had spent the winter without heat or water.

“It just kind of touched my heart and when I heard about (the challenge) I thought that it would be a great way to help,” Wood said.

McPhee, who could not be reached for comment by press time, won for her idea of a volunteer app that would connect volunteers to organizations in need.

“Each year I am impressed and amazed by the creativity and enthusiasm of the youth that participate in the challenge,” said Mayor Peter Brown in a press release. “It’s always challenging to select the winners, and I’m thrilled that so many of our youth are interested in seeking ways to improve their community.”

According to Robbie White with the City’s Social Planning Unit, the challenge received 26 submissions from middle school students and only two from high school students.

“The two we did get from the high school students were very strong,” White added.

He said the City will look at different ways to market the challenge to high school students next year to encourage more youth from that age group to participate.

Both Wood and McPhee will receive an iPad mini, present their ideas to City council at the Aug. 5 meeting and will each spend a day at City Hall shadowing Brown as Mayor for a Day.

“They will come in and meet the staff and the mayor and get an idea of how things work,” he said.

“I’m kind of nervous to present to City council because presenting isn’t my strongest point,” Wood said.

“During the interview portion of the contest, I was nervous too but knowing that I did it once, I’m sure I can do it again.”

Applications were shortlisted by the Airdrie Board of Youth Affairs, City council members conducted interviews with members of the Airdrie Board of Youth Affairs, and final recommendations were made to City council when they selected the winners.

The entries were rated on a scale of one through 10 for their effort, originality, feasibility, value and appeal.

“Doing something like this isn’t really part of my comfort zone,” Wood said. “I thought doing something new and pushing myself would help me in the future to not be so in my box and so closed in.”


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