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Running with the leaders in the North End

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Police chief Devon Clunis and MLA Kevin Chief led Norquay School students in a run through the North End last month in an effort to raise awareness of crime prevention.

JESSICA BURTNICK/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

Police chief Devon Clunis and MLA Kevin Chief led Norquay School students in a run through the North End last month in an effort to raise awareness of crime prevention. Photo Store Photo Store

On June 14, I had the chance to Run with the Chiefs, although it was more like a walk/jog for me.  

When I arrived, I first noticed the celebratory orange and yellow balloons marking the course, a stark contrast to the dark skies above. When I got to the gym at Norquay School, I was greeted by a sea of orange T-shirts. There was excitement in the air, and a sense of pride and belonging. The schoolkids knew it was special to have their MLA and their police chief among them.  

I realized that leadership comes in different forms. There are leaders who "lead the pack", setting an example for excellence, bringing out the best in others, and setting goals and working hard to achieve them with their team.  Kevin Chief modelled this kind of leadership. He had been training with a number of youth for the Father’s Day Marathon. Together, they set the pace.

Other leaders come alongside their team members and matched the strides of those who needed support.  I saw an amazing example of this when I came up behind Winnipeg police chief Devon Clunis.

Clunis was walking hand-in-hand with one of the younger kids.  Others soon gathered around him, eager to hear and to be heard by someone so important. Chief Clunis purposely slowed down and took time for "the little people".

Some leaders change the entire culture of their organizations. I was privileged to see how the attitude of one principal can infect a whole school.

My brief conversation with Nancy Dyck gave me a glimpse of how she sees the kids in her school. From my observations of staff and students, that attitude of honour and respect is the foundation for the strong and caring relationships between them. I was encouraged by what I saw.

Another insight came to me through the orange T-shirts. They unified everyone and identified everyone with one purpose, just like a team uniform. My guess is that the T-shirts played a larger role in the success of the event than we might think.

Overall, I was proud to be part of the Run With the Chiefs this year. It was a beautiful picture of leadership and teamwork in the North End.

Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for the North End. You can contact her at sonyajoy@gmail.com.

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