The Mackenzie Dickson/Annika Raithby Youth Leadership Scholarship

The following words were read out at the final performance of this year’s KITS season, following the announcement of the Mackenzie Dickson/Annika Raithby Youth Leadership Scholarship endowed by Laurie Kelley and Scott Poole. This annual scholarship will fund a senior youth leader through a season of KITS plus the Teens Alive programs.

From:Laurie Kelley and Scott Poole

To the Audience:

It is with much excitement and joy that we announce the endowment of the new Mackenzie Dickson/Annika Raithby Youth Leadership Scholarship, to be awarded annually starting in 2013.

Many years ago, we expressed to Denise an interest in furthering a Youth Leadership program in what was then Dance and Games for Kids. Mackenzie and Annika were sitting at our lunch table that year while we listened to Denise’s larger-than-life plan for Youth Leadership. What we saw that day in the faces of Mackenzie and Annika was an unbounded enthusiasm for their own experience as well as for the learning of those much younger. Our children were still too young to attend, but we’d followed D&G for years, seeing the miracles on stage and hearing of the miracles off stage. That year we made our first donation in support of Youth Leadership.

This year when we found out it would be Mackenzie’s last year, on the heels of Annika’s departure the year before last, we knew it was time to honour these remarkable young people.

To Annika and Mackenzie:

You have inspired a generation of young people to know themselves, to connect with others, to meet challenges head on, to honour the unfolding of their individual talent, to dream BIG, and to know that they are recognized and seen. Kids from all walks of life, some with wounds too big to hide, have been folded up in your loving and your laughter, in your kindness and empathy. They shine knowing that you have seen them in all their messiness and all their glory. Five days of every summer, each child in Kids in the Spotlight created a memory with you that fuels their fire for things not yet even imagined! Your talent with children is beyond measure. All we parents need do is look at our children on that 5th day and no words are necessary to describe your magic.

As you go forth in your world, please know how honoured we parents are to have had you with our child for that special 5 days every summer. May this scholarship create more opportunities for Youth Leaders to inspire and connect with our children, as you have, for all the years to come.

With a full heart,

Laurie Kelley and Scott Poole

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