From left, Abby Fortune, Ricardo Manmohan, Tofino mayor Josie Osborne, Brooke Wood, and Lee McNamee celebrate the success of past Leadership Vancouver Island journeys on July 23 at the CBT office. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

Applications open for West Coast Leadership Vancouver Island course

“I encourage people to step up and take a more leadership role.”

Applications for Leadership Vancouver Island – West Coast Chapter 2019-2020 program are open.

Leadership Vancouver Island (LVI) is an accredited program, guided by local leaders in government, business and non-profit organizations.

The West Coast Chapter has tailored a unique approach to west coast communities, and over the nine-month commitment, participants get the opportunity to visit: Tofino, Ucluelet, and First Nation territories of Ucluelet, Ahousaht, Tla-o-qui-aht, Toquaht, and Hesquiaht.

Past LVI program facilitator and participant Ricardo Manmohan shared a story at the LVI celebration at the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust office on July 23.

“MP Gord Johns started this from his word. When I said, ‘Let’s take Jamie’s Whaling Station to Ahousaht and we’ll show up and it’ll be great, we’ll have a retreat.’ And Gord said, ‘No, why would you go on Jamie’s Whaling Station when you should be using [Ahousaht] water taxis’,” Manmohan recalled.

“First, first, first learning. That’s what this program did,” he continued. “It shaped itself to be what this region needed.”

Lee McNamee, a Tofino resident and operator of the Common Loaf Bake Shop, joined LVI when the grassroots leadership program first launched on the West Coast in 2012.

“It’s a great way to make community connections,” said McNamee, adding that it helped him understand the needs of each unique community on the Coast.

“I encourage people to step up and take a more leadership role,” he said.

Fellow LVI alumni Marilyn Touchie developed a pilot transportation project while she was enrolled in the program.

“[The transportation project] pushed me to get out of my comfort zone,” said Touchie.

Katie Garner helped create a Youth Environmental Stewardship curriculum during her year immersed in LVI.

“One of my biggest takeaways was getting to visit all the communities,” Garner told the Westerly.

Going forward into the 2019-2020 LVI program, Manmohan has passed on his role as lead facilitator to Brooke Wood.

“I am humbled to be part of all your journeys,” said Manmohan. “The [LVI] program changed my life four times, every single year.”

Manmohan said he will still be available as a coach, but emphasized his need to spend more time developing the Youth Warrior Program.

Applications for LVI 2019-2020 are due August 26, 2019. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to receive six credits from Vancouver Island University.

The tuition fee is $2,000. Typically, $200 is paid by the participant, and $1,800 by a sponsor.

“Grant opportunities are available for people that can’t afford the tuition or that don’t have an employer that can sponsor them, so don’t let the fee discourage you from applying,” notes Wood.

Interested in learning more? Visit: or send email to:

VIDEO: Leadership Vancouver Island students promote Wheels for Wellness in Tofino

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