Influence and administration in Golden
This Golden influencer performs two important roles
It was for the active, outdoor lifestyle that Karen Cathcart and her family moved to Golden, B.C., from Sarnia, Ontario, in 2002. Cathcart left her management position in hospitality and tourism at Lampton College of Applied Arts and Technology to teach business courses in the Adventure Tourism Program at College of the Rockies, Golden campus.
Cathcart became the college administrator in 2006. She believes that College of the Rockies plays a vital role in delivering programming that changes people’s lives.
“Our academic and contract training offerings certainly are a conduit to supporting local businesses and individual business people,” she said. “Our programming is set to meet the demand of what is happening in our communities and the region.”
A flagship program at College of the Rockies’ Golden campus is its two-year Adventure Tourism Business Operations diploma program. It has been offered for almost 20 years and attracts students from around the world. Students receive training in outdoor pursuits that include sea kayaking, rock climbing, ice climbing, ski and snowboard instruction and backcountry travel. They also learn the business components of the adventure industry, and to complete the program must write a business plan for an adventure business.
College of the Rockies also offers adult basic education upgrading, a region-wide Mountain Hospitality Program and, as of fall 2017, the Education and Skills for Employment Program, focused on individuals who have disabilities and want to enter or re-enter the workforce.
Adding a role
Cathcart wanted to make a difference and to support progress and development of her community, and since 2014 she has been the director for Area A (rural Golden) of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD).
“It’s been a very eye-opening process for me,” she said. “The job of local government is not easy, but it’s needed. My role as the Area A director has been focused on community engagement, with respect to what local government is about and what it is not about, and providing the connection between local government and the residents.”
Cathcart holds monthly meetings with an advisory committee made up of local residents, where board issues are brought forward and residents have an opportunity to be heard.
“More residents of Area A now know more about local government and its role than ever before,” she said. “I feel that my role in this community is to make a difference. If I have the skills and the ability to support this community in any way, then I need to do that.”