Each year, YMCAs from across Canada recognize those who, without any special resources, status, wealth, or position, have demonstrated a commitment to peace through special contributions made within their community and globally. The YMCA Peace Medallion, created two decades ago by a small group of volunteers and staff at the YMCA of Fredericton, is a way to honour dedicated peace builders and to inspire others. Since 1987, some 2,000 individuals and groups across Canada have been recognized with YMCA Peace Medals during YMCA World Peace Week.
Here at our YMCA, we have honoured 24 individuals and 13 groups from our community, who inspire us with their actions. A list of those recipients can be found on the YMCA website at ymcaowensound.on.ca.
Peace Medal recipients should demonstrate the values of PEACE:
P= Participation – getting involved and encouraging others to get involved in community building activities
E= Empathy – listening and understanding diverse perspectives to create a sense of belonging for all
A= Advocacy: making the case for positive change in the community
C= Community: building and strengthening community connections and capacity
E= Empowerment: inspiring others to foster peace and helping them gain the skills and tools to succeed
Today, we will welcome a new peacemaker to this special group by acknowledging their important contributions to our community, our country, and our world.
This nomination was made at the unanimous support of Grey Highlands Peace Committee. We would like to recognize Lynn Silverton as this year’s 2022 Peace Medallion recipient. Ms. Silverton is an inclusive community leader who identifies and shares community-building tasks, challenges and opportunities rather than hoarding them. Her “You can help” message is inspiring because it reinforces the idea that we all own the pursuit of solutions to community problems. She is able to execute her drive for inclusion through her chairmanship, within the last two years of the Grey Highlands Peace Committee, the Grey Highlands Police Services Board, the Grey Highlands Seniors’ Advisory Committee and Grey County Cares; through Vice Chairmanship of the Grey Highlands Public Library Board; and through Presidency of the Flesherton-Markdale Legion and the Markdale Rotary Club. She accomplishes this as well through her membership during the past two years on the boards of six other civic organizations in Grey Highlands.
As the Chair of Grey County Cares, (an organization raising funds and supplies in Grey County to help Ukrainian newcomers) Ms. Silverton drew on her own experience as an immigrant to help ten Ukrainian families escape war and settle in Grey County.
Ms. Silverton finds opportunities for the Peace Committee to partner with other groups on projects. In October 2022 for instance, she took the lead in bringing together the Peace Committee, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (Priceville), the Grey Highlands Public Library, the Old Durham Road Black Pioneer Cemetery Committee, JunCtian Community Initiatives and the Sheffield Park Black History and Cultural Museum to hold a community event in Priceville honoring an early Canadian Presbyterian abolitionist leader, Michael Willis.
Ms. Silverton demonstrates all the YMCA values of PEACE: Participation, Empathy, Advocacy, Community and Empowerment.
“On behalf of the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce we congratulate this year’s Peace Medal recipient, Lynn Silverton. Her advocacy and commitment is truly inspirational,” states Sarah Cowley, CEO of the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce at the ceremony held today at the Y.