Sunday, December 14, 2014

Rotary guest speaker Caelan Taylor - a community leader

Caelan Taylor speaks to Pincher Creek Rotary
Toni Lucas

Caelan Taylor was the guest speaker at the regular meeting of Pincher Creek Rotary on December 11, 2014. Taylor is a grade 12 student at Matthew Halton High School.  He's an active volunteer in the community who has a passion for cooking. His culinary talents earned him 4th place in the 2014 National Skills Competition for Foods. Taylor addressed a few key points in his presentation including who he was and how he got to be the person he is, his approach to learning, and volunteering.

Taylor was born and raised in Fiji, and has lived off and on in the Pincher Creek area throughout his life. He believes that his passion for cooking came at a young age. He spoke of sitting in the breakfast nook, watching his parents make meals and snacks, and the enjoyment he had when he got to help and be involved with the process. His father John Taylor managed the Stepping Stones Bed and Breakfast and Caelan said that cooking for appreciative guests was very rewarding. Influenced by teachers in school, he started to go to the Skills Competition for cooking on a regional, then Provincial, then a National level. He says that he may take a break this year to focus on academics, but may enter into the competition at a post secondary level, where he plans to further his cooking education and enter into hospitality management.

Taylor said that he "I believe in lifelong learning. I have chosen to do a lot of extra-curricular learning." In addition to regular classes Taylor takes Alberta Distance Learning courses and puts himself into situations where he learns new things, including volunteering.

WE Day initiatives inspired Taylor to take a new view both locally and globally. "I have always been exposed to issues in the area, and while I was travelling, but I never really got the spark," he said. Since being exposed to WE Day beliefs, he has travelled to Ecuador to help build a school, he became involved with Students Inspiring Change that most recently collected close to 600 lbs of food for the local food bank during the We Scare Hunger campaign at Halloween, and is a student volunteer with the Community Conversation on Education. He is currently an honourary youth member of the Pincher Creek Chamber of Commerce.

"My thirst for travel started at a young age," he said. He is working determinedly to shape his life toward his passions of cooking, hospitality, and volunteering. He is well on his way to achieving one of his stated goals; "I want to start becoming a leader in my community."

Related story:  Caelan Taylor takes fourth place in the National Food Skills Competition

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