|All rights Reserved 2003-12 Council of Canadian Child and Youth Care Associations/Garth Goodwin
she remains an active member of our association. She is respected highly in our province and her contributions to the field are much like Sundee as a person, quietly
exceptional. Her practice of youth care is, on a personal note, the standard to which I hold myself and she has my deepest respect and admiration. The following are
comments by her Program Manager, a Colleague in practice, and a fellow CYCWAM member who sat on the board with her before me. In these testimonials, I hope to
demonstrate why we believe that Sundee should receive this award.
Sundee has been an employee of MYS for over 12+ years. During that time the Chancellor Program has been the beneficiary of her amazing powers. What are those you
might ask? Well we all know that Youth Care Practitioners are skilled predictors of the future, the voice of reason in a wilderness of nonsense, a haven from the storm of life
…but seriously, how many can claim to have such omnipotent powers to influence an entire treatment program when they are not even working. These are few and far apart
and the only one that I know of is named Sundee. Now this is not a claim made carelessly for if you have ever experienced “THE POWER OF SUNDEE SAYS…” you too would
diligent in their efforts to inform lesser mortals (other YCPs, Managers and Therapists too) when they are not in compliance with the universe.
Now Sundee would never claim to have these powers nor would she ever use her “powers” for ill will. The question you may ask then is; why does this woman possess such
a gift? The answer is simple and complicated all at the same time. The youth whose life Sundee has touched have bestowed upon her these powers because they respect
her, they trust her and even when they are trying to manipulate an extra bowl of cereal at snack time they know that others do too and maybe, just maybe they can use Sundee’
s good name to get something extra.
Sundee says what she means and she means what she says. This carries weight with troubled youth and with co-workers, and other professionals. Sundee over the years
has demonstrated a strong work ethic and a commitment to kids and the profession of Youth Care Practice that is second to none. Sundee is dedicated to her work and any
task that she is asked to do, she is compassionate with the youth yet she holds them accountable to a higher standard and in the end, she helps them to see that they are
worthy of that standard. That is the “POWER OF SUNDEE SAYS”.
Chancellor Program - MYS
In a career that can be stressful as well as rewarding, it is good to have a kindred spirit like Sundee to share the journey. Sundee’s commitment to relationship-based
practice is evidenced in her approach. She gives each child a “clean slate”, and builds a therapeutic relationship. She sees the “gentle bear” beneath the initial angry
presentation. She believes in forgiveness and redemption, in meeting kids where they are at, and in building on strengths.
The group home she works in stays committed to the toughest kids during their formative years. They give and practice the message “no matter how hard you push us away,
we won’t give up on you.” I have heard the pain in her voice talking about a young person who suffered a great loss, and shared the joy of one who called years later to share a
success. There have been many weekends when her kitchen table was covered in photos and keepsakes, as she raced to finish a Life Book for a young person that was
moving on. She is still the staff that volunteers for road and camping trips, and the first to work Christmas without issue.
Sundee shared her love of animals by periodically bringing her golden lab Reggie to work for many years. Youth were able to bond and care for Reggie, as well as establish
trust, and feel unconditional love often for the first time in their lives. There have been times when a youth at the unit started to escalate and another youth would emphatically
say “Chill man, you’ll stress Reggie.”
It is Sundee who reminds me of why we do what we do, and puts it all into perspective. Sundee gives feedback and support to co-workers in a way that empowers, and
grounds you. She reminds you of what is important: that best practice had been adhered to, that the child is safe, and that their needs have been met. She balances best
practice with sharing her intrepid sense of self, genuine warmth and offbeat sense of humor.
What strikes me most is Sundee’s commitment to the front line of Child and Youth Care for more than 15 years. Her impeccable work ethic and commitment to Macdonald
Youth Services inspires students and co-workers alike. She is most worthy of recognition as an exceptional Child and Youth Care Practitioner.
Carol May Watson
Intake Clinician - Youth Mobile Crisis Team
Macdonald Youth Services
To Whom It May Concern I worked with Sundee Blackadder on the Board of Directors for CYCWAM from 2003 until 2010. Sundee was a consistent attendee at all of our Board
meetings and also was a major participant in the preliminary planning and organizing for the National CYC Conference that CYCWAM hosted in Winnipeg in 2010.
Having been a Board member for 20 years, I know firsthand how difficult it is to have volunteer members attend and participate in Board meetings and Board activities on a
regular and consistent basis. Sundee is one of those individuals. She was a strong backbone of our MB association because of her ongoing commitment to the work that
needs to be done. She was always ready willing and able to volunteer for the background work in all of our events. Sundee always happily took on assigned tasks; she
worked incredibly hard without looking for any recognition or reward. Sundee is a strong believer in quality care, professional standards and the promotion of Child and Youth
Care as a profession in Manitoba. It is my privilege to recommend Sundee for the National CYC award.
Dawne MacKay-Chiddenton BSW, MSW.
2012 National Child and Youth Care Award Recipients: Natalie Bursey & Sundee Blackadder
The 2012 National CYC Award recipients were unique in being the first co-recipients. The reviewing the nominations determined that both held equal weight and
should each receive the award. There were no nominations for 2014.
is our opinion that Natalie is the true example of excellence in the field. Natalie has been involved in the field of Child and
Youth Care for over 15 years, during which time she has been mainly employed as a Youth Care Worker with Waypoints. She
has worked her way up to a management position as the coordinator of two programs within the organization. Natalie has
risen to every challenge without question or concern. Her incredibly positive outlook on life and amicable demeanor make
her an excellent coworker. She is a true advocate, looking out for the best interest of young people and staff alike.
The heart of Youth Care Work lies in the ability for one to form meaningful relationships with the young people. Natalie has
always formed strong relationships with the youth with whom she works. When asked to comment on Natalie, the young
people with whom she is currently working with said, "She is always smiling which is nice," and, "Even when things get crazy
she stays really calm which helps me feel better." Natalie is always willing to go above and beyond for a young person. For
example, when a young person expressed an interest in trying out for a singing contest, she picked him up at 5:30 a.m. and
spent the entire day supporting him through the long group-audition process. This young person may not have gone very far
in the competition but he came out of the experience feeling like he was a success and that he had people around him who
were there to help him reach his goals. While she never preaches, young people see that she is dedicated to making the
world a bett!
er place by helping one person at a time. She once shocked a young person when out of the blue she took him along to
purchase coffee for a random crew of road workers. While the young man was shy and would not talk to the strangers who
were the recipients of her generosity, he could not stop talking to people about it in the days that followed. The idea that
someone would do an act of kindness for strangers was foreign to him, but it was clear that he was impacted by how it felt.
As a coordinator, Natalie stresses how the differences amongst her Staff are what make them a strong team. She takes the
time to build up her staff and encourages them to bring their talents to the homes and use them in building relationships
with the young people. Natalie's staff can see how passionate she is about youth. Her work ethic and commitment shine
through every encounter you have with her. She is the type of person that you will go the extra mile for because you have so
much respect for her and would never want to let her down.
Natalie is a long-standing member and avid supporter of the Child and Youth Care Association. While her role is not usually
one of high profile, Natalie has been a tireless supporter behind the scenes. As far back as our National Conference in 2002
and our Provincial Conferences to date, Natalie has been a vital member of the Hospitality Committee. While she is a strong
supporter, it is Natalie's leadership that helps plan the hospitality around the conferences and our yearly Christmas
Socials. Furthermore, Natalie has been involved as secretary for the Provincial Child and Youth Care Association for the past
Natalie is a role model to everyone who has the pleasure of knowing her-not just the young people. She has boundless
energy and focuses that energy it on helping people wherever she can. Natalie is a volunteer in her church and at a
community soup kitchen. Natalie is genuinely concerned about others. The church she attends is located in the downtown
area of St. John's. While there is a wide spectrum of people that attend, Natalie is known for her willingness to work with
those who many in society have cast aside. She builds relationships, set boundaries, and is an example to others who are
looking to do the same. For Natalie, the principles of Youth Care Work are how she lives her life. She is an amazing example
to the youth in her care, her family and others in the community.
Natalie is not one to look for recognition or to be singled out. She is the first to acknowledge her staff and the importance of a
strong team for successful Youth Care Work. However, at the heart of a strong team, you will find a strong leader. In her more
than 15 years of working in the field Natalie has made strong connections with young people and has been an outstanding
example of generosity and service to the community. She is that leader of Child and Youth Care and a valued member of the
Child and Youth Care community and it is our great honour to nominate her for this award.
Natalie receiving her certificate from
President Kelly Shaw at Inspiring
Nominator Dawne McKay Chiddenton
accepted the certificate for Sundee in