What are the characteristics of great community leader?
A fearless approach? Infinite patience? Eager to take initiative? Humble about work and workload? Driven by passion? Team player?
Yes, to all of the above.
These specific qualities embody one extraordinary individual. Paul Horn.
The effort that Paul has put forward, his time invested and his endless contributions to our community are immeasurable. Over the past thirty years, Paul has been directly involved with initiatives such as Stone Soup, Haven in the Hallow, Grapevine Food Sharing, the Mission Hot Seat, S’Up Mission, Mission and District Historical Society, Sasquatch and Salmonbellies Lacrosse, the Riot of Reading Solutions, and Volunteer Mission, to name but a few.
He has performed as the Town Cryer at Mission’s 125th Anniversary, MC’d Rotary fundraising galas, served as a parliamentarian at a number of Annual General Meetings for local not-for-profits, served as a director and official portrait photographer with Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, and so much more.
His actions and commitment as a devoted volunteer have really raised the level of service that Mission has been able to provide. Recognized for his years of service in 2016, Paul was selected for top honour, the Citizen of the Year award.
Paul had the advantage of growing up between the hustle and bustle of Surrey and the idyllic countryside of Silverdale. Never a fan of the big city, Paul leaned more towards the lifestyle offered by that of a small, rural community.
Days were filled with running through the woodlands of neighbours’ properties, playing in the creeks and rolling down hills in skidder tire tubes. A sense of community was instilled in Paul from a young age.
Today, remote Silverdale has grown substantially, but the romantic country feel is still present and the small-town community spirit is still strong. Paul and his wife, Tracy, purchased a heritage house in Silverdale. It was not just a house, but a home built on a lifetime of love, and Tracy and Paul have every intention of continuing the tradition.
Driven by the love of humanity, Paul completed his Bachelor in Teacher Education at The University of the Fraser Valley. Since then, he has been employed as a Community Support Worker and Educational Assistant Instructor at Mission's Riverside College. The college opened in 2001, and Paul has been there for the entire duration of its remarkable journey. With the initial vision to “make a difference for Mission,“ Riverside has become the envy of other districts vying do something similar.
“It’s really all about the attitudes and teamwork we bring here,” Paul says, acknowledging the hard work and individual contributions of his colleagues.
Being a teacher can have a huge impact on a student’s life, and to see this progression and growth is something that brings much joy to Paul. Throughout the years, Paul has seen his former students go on to become leaders in their sector.
Paul earned his Masters of Science degree from the University of Leicester, with a focus on performance management. He completed a masters dissertation on how city councils meet and engage with the public, making him one of the few people to truly examine how local government can better communicate with the public.
“I am very familiar with BC’s Community Charters and Local Government Acts, and I regularly read Mission’s bylaws. Even though a council agenda can be hundreds of pages in length, I make it my business to read and research thoroughly.”
Also well educated in governance and board development, as well as Robert’s Rules, Paul is always actively researching how boards can improve. After years serving on council, some might feel the need to take a much needed hiatus, but Paul remained active in the community.
Working closely with Mission Community Services Society, the District of Mission and various other community organizations and individuals, Paul has been the driving force behind many social development initiatives.
Passionate about social development and mental health, it was Paul who developed Community Cares: Mental Health Response Training. This educational program sets the industry and community standard for mental health response training and has become a powerful tool, used all across the world.
Stone Soup was developed in an effort to mobilize against homelessness and housing instability. It was a way for the entire community to come together to make a difference.
“It was a direct way of reaching out and assisting some of the less fortunate in our community,” Paul explains. “Those that had no reliable, safe place to live. Those living in abusive relationships. Those experiencing poverty in general.”
Out of the successful Stone Soup project came the Engaged Community Guide Program. The concept was that ambassadors would serve the community as a whole, operating as guides and greeters, keeping eyes on the streets and alerting neighbourhood agencies to the need for law enforcement, municipal clean-up and outreach.
Paul wants to continue building on what we’re good at. It’s all about building relationships upon relationships upon relationships.
Six years serving on Mission Council has taught Paul that it pays to be prepared. Being an effective member of council is more than attending a few meetings. Elected officials are committed to doing their homework and one can never underestimate the mental preparation required to make decisions about the long-term sustainability of a community. Staff would often thank him for thoroughly reading agendas and meeting minutes.
“Some people sacrifice thoughtfulness for decisiveness and that’s called guessing.”
There are deep roots in Mission and we all have come from people who chose to come here. Regardless of time spent in this beautiful location, we are all newcomers and we need to show each other, and the land, the respect it deserves. Paul not only wants to see change, but he is change.
Paul has witnessed the power of our community. He has seen the love that we have shown each other and he has witnessed moments of redemption. He has seen hope and seen that hope materialized.
Both David and Tracey remark on how Paul has the uncanny ability to not only take care of people, but to bring out the best in them. They go on to describe Paul as being balanced in principle, solution driven and positive.
“I would like to think of myself as a reasonable guy.” Paul chimes in. “I understand that you can’t always do the popular thing. You have to do the reasonable thing.”
This is a big time for our small town. Leadership means listening carefully to others with a desire to understand concerns, and Paul wants people to have the opportunity to be able to speak with City Hall without having to defend their neighbourhood.
The motto of Paul’s Consulting business is "Inspired thinking in challenging times” and this bodes well for what Paul represents to our community today.
Mission needs a leader with heart.
Mission needs a leader with passion for the community.
Always demonstrating leadership and support, Paul Horn embodies the spirit of what it means to really be the change you wish to see in the world.