Alison Smith joined the Canadian Ski Patrol in 2001. It was her belief that the CSP needed young leaders which led to her involvement at the zone level and culminated in her being elected to the board of directors in 2015. During her time on the board, Alison was focused on engaging younger members and providing them with opportunities to grow as leaders within the CSP. Her focus lives on in the Alison Smith Memorial Leadership Award, which was established to celebrate young members who show leadership by taking on new challenges, and displaying the initiative to grow as a leader within the CSP.
The inaugural recipient of this award, Jennifer Anderson from Nova Scotia Zone, became a member of the CSP in 2010, an assistant instructor in 2012, and an instructor trainer and zone education officer in 2015. Her duties grew when she was appointed patrol leader at Ski Ben Eoin during the 2015-2016 season. The two positions of patrol leader and education officer were positions held until the spring of 2017. As education officer for Cabot Zone, her responsibilities included two areas on Cape Breton Island – Ski Ben Eoin near Sydney, Nova Scotia and Ski Cape Smokey in Ingonish. In 2017 she assumed the role of vice-president of training and development for the newly formed Nova Scotia Zone.
In interviewing Jennifer’s peers for contributions for this leadership nomination, one common theme emerged. Jennifer has the unique ability to encourage people to rise to the occasion and become engaged; to move beyond their comfort zones regardless of their years of service, while at the same time promoting a sense of belonging. Through the years she has encouraged young patrollers to get involved in teaching and many have gone on to teach first aid and skills in Cabot Zone.
Jennifer has also encouraged young patrollers to participate in fundraisers and social events along with training and other local ski activities. By convincing a young student from the Canadian Coast Guard College to join the CSP, she tweaked the interest of many of his colleagues. Nine of them took the CSP first aid course this year.
During her time as patrol leader at Ski Ben Eoin, Jennifer Anderson has worked diligently to strengthen relationships between the patrol and the resort. She spent a good deal of time meeting with area managers and patrol members, which re-opened lines of communication and dialogue with positive results. Since repairing a damaged patrol/hill relationship and rebuilding morale, a positive culture among patrollers has emerged. Under Jennifer’s leadership, the resort and patrol have a positive and sustainable future ahead of them.
Jennifer embodies the spirit of what Alison envisioned, and the Canadian Ski Patrol was honoured to present her with the inaugural Alison Smith Memorial Leadership Award in Quebec City this past March, 2018.