In the 2017 Bowfest Parade, the Little Red Church’s own Reverend Shelagh McKinnon was sitting proud in our traditional Citizen of the Year car. This year it was an even bigger honour because we can also call Shelagh “The Citizen’s Choice.”
Choosing one person to represent an island of 3800 is always a difficult, perhaps absurd challenge. So many islanders contribute so much in so many ways, that it is almost impossible to declare a single winner because there really shouldn’t be any losers. The selection committee and the Museum and Archives which has taken on this event, have introduced a new judging process this year. The intent was to help us become as inclusive and impartial as possible. The first step was to call for nominations which formed the basic list but still omitted some very deserving folks. So the committee then complied a longer list that we believed included every islander who in any way makes a significant difference on Bowen. Then, each committee member, judging separately so as not to influence the others, ranked the long list for their ten top choices. Only then were the lists compared, ranked, and a top ten identified and featured in the Undercurrent. We called these “Islanders Who Make a Difference.”
Again, we considered all ten to be people who go the extra mile, all winners in their own right! But who would ride in the parade as Citizen of the Year? Well, once again, to keep the choice as objective as possible, we decided to have all our ten choices choose a winner among the winners. Liken it to the idea of an all-star team picking its captain.