TYVoices 2023 Wins Best Community Promotion Award

At the 2024 Quebec Community Newspaper Association Awards on June 28, the 2023 edition of the Townships Young Voices earned first place in the Community Promotion Awards. This was our inaugural TYVoices; we have just completed our second annual TYVoices initiative (2024), with growing participation from youth across the Townships.

Turning back the clock, here’s more about the award-winning 2023 edition:

Townships Young Voices 2023 offered awards to creative youth for their fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art, and photography created for magazine publication, and culminated in an Awards Luncheon on March 26, 2023.

Objectives. To raise the profile of the Townships Sun magazine, make it more relevant to English-speaking Townshippers of all ages, and involve youth.

Outreach. We reached out to youth through a variety of media: Social media, website, community partnerships, print media, radio, personal contact and email, and of course, in the pages of the Townships Sun.

We published an online series of creative tips to encourage participants, and created an easy-to-use submission form on Google Forms. Marie Moliner, Rachel Garber, and John Mackley rejoicing
at the QCNA Awards Ceremony in Montreal, June 28, 2024.
(Photo: Scott Stevenson)

Submissions and Selection Process. We received more than 50 submissions from participants aged 11 to 28, from across the Eastern Townships. On a double-blind basis, jury members selected 15 award recipients representing the five categories of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, photography, and art.

Awards. The awards were distributed at a community luncheon prepared by Townships Sun volunteers and attended free of charge by more than 100 people of all ages. It was truly celebratory! A total of $750 was awarded: $100 to first-place winners; $50 to those who placed second. All awards included publication in the Townships Sun during 2023.

Coverage. The Townships Young Voices 2023 promotion, awards, or winning contributions were on the pages of every Townships Sun in 2023; and were the subject of five articles in The Record, two in the Journal-Le-Haut-Saint-François, and at least four radio interviews (CIDI-FM in Knowlton; CJMQ-FM in Sherbrooke; CBC Radio in Quebec City).

Costs. Including the prizes, the 2023 budget totaled $1,868, mostly using funds donated from local donors.

Impact of the Promotion. The Townships Sun gained

  • an online presence, participation by youth,

  • a renewed and expanded Board of Directors (including a 19-year-old),

  • raised visibility and participation among all ages, and

  • a taste for intergenerational teamwork.

  • Our numbers are up in terms of social media presence, website visitors, submissions from contributors, and subscriptions themselves, not to mention instrumental support volunteered from other community groups, and donations from funding partners.

  • This has enabled the Townships Sun to undertake an expanded youth-led Townships Young Voices 2024 as well as other initiatives in celebration of the magazine’s 50th Anniversary. The story continues!

Townships Young Voices represents a pivotal initiative in the Township Sun‘s current cycle of renewal. Yes, TYVoices successfully raised awareness and expanded the readership of this small magazine, the only community magazine in English specifically serving the Eastern Townships English-speaking community. But beyond that, it helped create a transformation in the magazine’s very personality and relevance to its readership.

As one reader wrote, “I wish to express my appreciation to you Rachel and the entire staff for having worked so hard to establish a mission for the present day Townships Sun and a justification for its journalistic role. I have been a life member since the mid 90’s and sometimes questioned what benefit was there to reading The Sun. I don’t criticize those who worked so hard every month to publish an edition, but it seemed like The Sun became lost in the world of modern journalism. Now however … I look forward … to receiving my copy every month and encourage you to continue to be so creative in your journalism.”

TYVoices 2023 Team: Marie Moliner, Assistant Editor, coordinated the project and captained the Instagram posts. Rachel Garber, Editor, conceived of the project and carried out communications for it. Abbigail Whitcher of Townshippers’ Association, John Mackley and Léa Côté made videos. And many more volunteers helped – our gratitude to all of you!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment