Like many others his age it would have been easy for Jordan Sprague to be lured to the bright lights of the big city.
Instead, upon graduating from the journalism program at Ryerson University in Toronto and working briefly in the television industry in Halifax, Sprague came home to Wentworth.
The work Sprague, a graduate of Pugwash District High School, has done in his community has caught the attention of a national organization that recognizes the work of good people across Canada who are excited by a better tomorrow.
Sprague has been included on a Future of Good list (futureofgood.co) as one of 21 youth reshaping governance in Canada.
“It came as quite a shock and it’s a great honour,” said the 26-year-old Wentworth native. “It’s goes to show the excellent work being done by young people in Canada and how we are the future.”
Sprague was one of 125 nominations received from across Canada. He has no idea who nominated him, but knows the nominations are based on the recognition of young leaders making a unique and significant contribution to non-profit boards of directors.
He said the person who nominated him had to write an essay on why Sprague should be recognized on the list, including their community contributions.
The list features entrepreneurs, public servants, academics, activists and professionals who are passionate about gender equity, homelessness, mental health, climate change and more. There are others who quietly transform non-profit governance through their perspectives, expertise, voice and actions.
“It’s nice that someone thinks that much of me to nominate me for this honour, but honestly I don’t do this work for recognition,” Sprague said. “I’m one of these guys who work behind the scenes and pushes the other volunteers into the spotlight. Still, it is nice to be honoured.”
Sprague is president of the Wentworth Learning Centre. The centre, that has been operational for approximately four years in the former elementary school, offers a daycare and after-school program as well as in-service camps and child care on in-service days. It does inter-generational work including seniors working with young people while offering programming directed at seniors.
“We do a lot of other programs such as health and wellness fairs and things to support the community,” he said. “Our main focus is the young people of the community.”
The centre, he said, has been very successful.
“We’re all volunteers and we’re always busy,” he said. “I do about 30 hours of volunteer work every week on top of my regular job at the learning centre. There’s that much going on and we don’t want to lose that momentum. We have a great group of volunteers.”
Sprague began volunteering on community boards when he was just 14, when he volunteered at the Wentworth C@P Site, and remains active with the Wentworth Community Development Council and the Wentworth Community Library.
“The library is part of the centre, but in a different wing. We have about 3,000 cataloged books with DVDs and computer space with free wi-fi.,” he said.
The library was formerly in the elementary school since 1984, but moved to the basement of the community’s recreation centre for several years before being moved back to the learning centre when it opened.
Sprague said Wentworth’s sense of community is what brought him home.
“I lived in Toronto for several years and worked in television in Halifax but there was no sense of belonging. Here everyone works together and there’s a great spirit of community,” he said. “I like what I do here. I learned a lot when I was away and it has helped me here. When I was younger I didn’t really appreciate what we had although I was heavily involved in the community. Going away showed me how much I missed and how much I wanted to come back and make a difference.”
Wentworth, he said, is a thriving community today but it hasn’t always been that way. Following the opening of the Cobequid Pass in 1997 many businesses disappeared because traffic was diverted to the new highway and the former Trans-Canada Highway through the Wentworth Valley was relegated to a secondary highway with restrictions on what vehicles can use the road and the speed limit was reduced.
He is happy to be part of the effort to spruce the community back up.
“I used some of the skills I learned when I was away to use in helping restore hope in the future of the community,” he said. “The big thing for me was to bring the young people back.
“I could be making much more money working in Halifax but this is where I want to be and it’s what I want to do.”