Whether a world-famous recording artist or glamorous movie star, or someone who serves up your morning coffee at the local shop, everyone loves to be recognized for the work they do.
For the past 20+ years, the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce has hosted its version of the Grammys and Oscars with an awards gala to salute local businesses, entrepreneurs, and organizations, along with their hard-working staffs, for their efforts in making our community a better place to live.
Since its humble beginnings in 1996, dozens upon dozens of individuals have enjoyed their moment in the spotlight while accepting an award.
The Chamber has tinkered with the gala over the years, for instance switching from its original February/March date to the fall for a few years before going back to a late-winter event. As well, there was the recent move to implement online voting in an effort to get more of the general public involved.
Another revamp is in the works. As first reported in last Thursday's Daily Bulletin, the Chamber decided to push this year's gala back to September, with executive director Jennifer Soderholm indicating organizers are looking at overhauling the whole event—from how people can submit nominations to the voting process.
She also acknowledged it will take time to get things set up properly, adding, “We don't want to rush it.”
That's a smart decision on the Chamber's part. Its awards gala is an important event on the calendar each year and every effort should be undertaken to ensure it remains so. If part of that involves a more stringent nomination process, great.
A return to a panel of judges to determine the winners would be welcomed, as well. The danger of online voting is the potential of descending into a popularity contest, rather than a careful scrutiny of the nominees' accomplishments—particularly if they're done out of the public eye.
Winning an award for being a top business or employee is very prestigious. It should be earned on merit, not on who may happen to be better well-known.