If her energy and enthusiasm werent so infectious, hearing Barb Snelgrove talk about her busy life would make anyone tired.
With her signature black hipster-before-they-were-hipster specs, this superstar is spinning a lot of plates as a publicist and project management professional, fund-raiser, large event coordinator and public speaker who, oh yeah, also co-hosts QueerFMs RELOADED, reports for OUTlook TV and freelances as a writer and columnist.
Feeling exhausted yet? Well this doesnt even touch on her volunteer work, which is so inspired and inspiring, makes you want to go out and do and then do even more. Shes loud and opinionated but so damn nice about it; this chick is a doer that knows how to get er done.
A second-generation Vancouverite, Snelgrove not only loves her city, she absolutely adores her LGBTQ community, where shes been out (literally) and about nearly her entre life. And while there were bits of volunteering here and there, in 1998 she decided to BAM! kick it up a notch, becoming a member of the Vancouver Pride Societys board and creating the communications department for them.
I just love my community so much that I wanted to give back, its as simple as that. Over the years, shes been Pride Parades Grand Marshall and hosted the Pride stage; this year, on August 4, shell be getting in front of the camera doing Shaws television coverage for OUTlook TV.
The volunteering hasnt stopped there, with her fingers in a few other pies, such as Qmunity, The Glass Choir, The Gathering Place and the LOUD Foundation, which provides scholarships to up and coming LDBTQ teens to help further their education. Its a wonder she has time to breathe, let alone socialize and make time for herself and her partner.
A big part of Snelgroves LGBTQ community love is showered upon Davie Street. As a well-known advocate and strong community leader, she was approached five years ago to join the LGBTQ Advisory Committee. Last year, a subcommittee formed which recently submitted a report to Vancouver City Council and the West End Planning Team, including recommendations for the revitalization of Davie Village.
Her enthusiasm is palpable when she talks about the project. Davie Street has always been a vibrant little community; we want to make it even more interactive and give it that buzz where people eat, work, play and live. We dont want it to be just another faceless neighborhood.
When asked where she her unbridled passion comes from, she has to think about it for a second. I just love to make change and see people getting excited and involved themselves.
Shes already done so much and even though at times she feels she might need to slow down a bit, she knows theres still so much to be done and is committed to ensuring that ever-important baton keeps getting passed down to the upcoming generations.
If youre thinking that someone whos achieved so much and given back so immeasurably to her community should be recognized and honored for her work, youre not alone. Snelgrove has been bestowed with many accolades and awards over the years, from Outstanding Community Member and Local Hero, to being named one of the 10 people making a difference in Vancouver.
As recently as Saturday, Snelgrove won the Telus Pride Legacy Yellow award, for Community Superstar. Now, as one of the brightest jewels in her crown of lifetime accomplishments, she is being inducted into Canadas Queer Hall of Fame, joining the likes of k.d. lang, Mark Tewksbury, and Pierre Trudeau.
The ceremony is October 3 in Toronto and her fellow 2013 inductees are the late Jack Layton, Marie Robertson, Jane Rule, Harold DeMarais, Darrin Hagen and Rev. Brent Hawkes.
I am deeply honoured to be in such illustrious company. I dont think it will sink in until I am actually in Toronto this Fall, she says.
To say this is a big deal would be a huge understatement. Barb Snelgrove has been an inspiration and a huge agent for change in the LGBTQ community and shes deserving as hell.
Christy Brookes is a Vancouver writer also known as AlphaSiren.