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Mayor for a Day winners present their ideas to City council

By: Christina Waldner

  |  Posted: Thursday, Aug 07, 2014 10:28 am

Mackenzie Wood and Breanne McPhee will soon take over Mayor Peter Brown's chair in Council Chambers for a day.
Mackenzie Wood and Breanne McPhee will soon take over Mayor Peter Brown's chair in Council Chambers for a day.
Christina Waldner/Rocky View Publishing

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The winners of the annual Mayor for a Day challenge presented their winning ideas to Airdrie City council on Aug. 7. Mackenzie Wood and Breanne McPhee wowed the selection committee and council with their innovative ideas.

Wood will be entering Grade 9 at W.H. Croxford High School in September. She 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.

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.

Alderman Fred Burley sits on the Airdrie Housing committee and was impressed by Wood’s idea.

He invited her to attend a future committee meeting to present her proposal.

McPhee is a longtime Airdrie volunteer who will be entering Grade 12 at George McDougall High School in the fall. She won for her idea of a volunteer app that would connect volunteers to organizations in need.

The idea of a volunteer app came to McPhee when her leadership class was asked to put in as many volunteer hours as they could and her classmates all grabbed their smart phones and searched for opportunities in Calgary.

“Why are you guys looking in Calgary when you live in a city that is self-sustained pretty much in volunteerism?” said McPhee. “So I thought, maybe the problem is that they don’t know about it. Maybe if we put it at their fingertips, it would be a way to empower them.”

The app would provide users of all ages with access to volunteer opportunities as well as a way to track their volunteer hours, something that many organizations would find very useful.

Kathy Ritcher, volunteer co-ordinator at the Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie (BGCA), thinks the app would be very useful for her organization.

“I think it would be fantastic,” she said.

“It may be that not a lot of people know the BGCA is looking for volunteers. If you had an application like this out there and it sorts by (the user’s) interests, and linked them to the BGCA, they might go ‘wow, I never thought of that’”

“I’d be more than happy to introduce you to the good folks at Volunteer Airdrie,” said Mayor Peter Brown.

“I’m sure they’d be interested to hear about your idea.”

Wood and McPhee will each have a chance to sit in the Mayor’s chair for a day, learning about how a municipality is run. The date each will get their chance at the top job has not yet been determined.

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.

With files from Allison Chorney


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