At this time of year, it can be difficult to rally for a cause or fight the good fight.
We’re pulled in a million different directions, from celebrations to obligations.
I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the people who, through all of this, are still working towards making our community the best it can be.
Whether through taking time for yourself to replenish, participating in training or continuing to beat your drum for all to hear, you are what make this community amazing all 12 months of the year.
It’s the end of 2019 and I’ve been reflecting back on my time with the CYMHSU (Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use) action team. I’ve been around since the very first meeting nearly five years ago.
I was attending as a proxy for my then manager Otti Brown while working as a case manager at WorkBC.
In that first meeting, I remember seeing so many passionate, dedicated faces around the table working to support children and youth with mental health and substance use challenges.
I heard the call for leaders within that group to step in as co-chairs, to help provide support and guidance for the Project Lead, Jewelles Smith.
I remember my passion for youth and mental health was too great and I went far beyond what my manager had asked me to do, putting up my hand and volunteering myself to be one of three co-chairs with the LAT.
I remember a few surprised looks, almost to say: “Who is this person again?”
When I returned to the office, my manager said with an exasperated chuckle: “You were supposed to go in my place, not volunteer to be the co-chair!”
But I believe in the work, the potential for our community, and the strength of its members so greatly that I couldn’t have stopped myself from putting up my hand even if I had tried.
The opportunity to work alongside the 19 different organizations represented at that meeting along with working with Shared Care BC and our provincial supports was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.Volunteering as the co-chair and then working as project lead since April 2017 has been the most remarkable journey for me.
The commitment we feel to community is at the core of all that we do; mobilizing the community as it is while imaging the community as it could be.
The work that we have accomplished together has moved the needle far enough in the direction we were heading to created a climate in Revelstoke that is ripe for change.
We have passionate community members that work to conserve what is good and change with is not. We have service providers, practitioners and community members working in ways that are new to them, but keep trying anyways.
In the new year, I will move on from my role as project lead at the collaborative table and all of this good work.
There is much to do in both the short- and long-terms — there always is! I know that the co-chairs, leadership support, partners, and community are more than ready for what lies ahead.
I know this is the right time for me to start a new chapter and to explore what that might entail. It’s also an opportune time for the CYMHSU to reflect on the leadership requirements of the future and to mobilize around a refreshed purpose.
I will always stay connected to this work and those who support it. I encourage you, the community, to keep asking questions, opening doors and letting our community know you care.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone for the care and support you’ve shown me over these years.
I wish you, your families and friends, peace over this holiday season to prepare you to come into the new year stronger than ever and ready for what lies ahead.
Stacie Byrne is project lead for the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use (CYMHSU) local action team, part of a larger provincial collaborative initiative to support people between the ages of six to 24 and their families with mental health and substance use challenges.