Lifetime Achievement Award for 2016 VLAs

Judith Armstrong and Nick Marsden are long-time volunteer leaders with a passion for people and community. As President and Vice-­President of Operation Trackshoes (OT) respectively, their combined efforts over 40 years have resulted in the development of OT into British Columbia’s most successful sports festival for people with developmental disabilities.

Nick and Judith will jointly accept the prestigious Leadership Victoria Lifetime Achievement Award in Community Leadership (sponsored by Heart Pharmacy) at the 12th annual Victoria Leadership Awards (VLAs) gala on February 25, 2016 at the Victoria Conference Centre.

Begun in 1971 with Judith’s leadership, Operation Trackshoes has continued for 46 years under the joint leadership of Judith and Nick, who joined the team in 1972. Each June, approximately 600 participants with developmental disabilities (between the ages of 6 and 80) take part. Additionally, over 600 community volunteers from Victoria and beyond assist as counsellors, nurses, and sports officials.

Operation Trackshoes benefits the community of people with developmental disabilities by giving them the opportunity to take part in races, games and social activities during a fun-filled weekend away from their homes fostering a sense of camaraderie and accomplishment.

The following provides a brief overview of Nick Marsden’s and Judith Armstrong’s career highlights:

Nick Marsden’s life has centred on family, teaching mathematics at Camosun College in Victoria (now retired after 42 years of service). In addition to his leadership of OT, for the past 15 years, Nick has also helped coordinate the annual Math Challengers Contest held at Camosun College in which students aged 13 to 15 participate in discovering the wonder and fun of Mathematics. At OT, his work is essential to its annual success. He wrote all the computer programs that OT uses for competitor registration, housing, and scheduling into events. He works tirelessly to meticulously document every aspect of the event to facilitate review, delegation-building and sustaining the OT team in readiness for the annual meet itself.

Judith Armstrong’s sustained leadership has enhanced the lives of local, provincial, national, and international communities for over 45 years. Her passion for assisting others began with a Kiwanis-supported Oak Bay high school club that helped people with disabilities and with her summer work with Easter Seal camps. Her career also followed this path where she initially worked for a year with BC Association for Community Living in the Okanagan, prior to helping start OT in 1971. Her other passion is volunteering with the Canadian Foundation for the Children of Haiti (CFCH) where she serves as Vice-president of the foundation and has a specific role in providing support to Hope Home. In parallel with her volunteering Judith was founder and Executive Director of The Handicapped Recreation Society from 1975 to 1989. She also served as Executive Director of the Vancouver Island Head Injury Society and is currently the Regional Program Coordinator for the Brain Injury Program with Island Health, where she has worked for 25 years.

The Greater Victoria community has benefited significantly by the core values, actions, and sustained leadership of Judith and Nick for over 40 years.

The upcoming twelfth annual Victoria Leadership Awards ceremony, on February 25, provides the occasion to honour all 19 distinguished nominees in nine prestigious categories—from youth to lifetime achievement. Led by Leadership Victoria, the awards are a partnership between Leadership Victoria, the University of Victoria, the Rotary Clubs of Greater Victoria, the Victoria Foundation and the United Way of Greater Victoria.

Previous recipients of the lifetime achievement award include: Clarence (Butch) Dick (2015), Mickey and Donna Hajash (2014), Bob Harman (2013), Naz Rayani (2012), the late Alex Campbell (2011), Tom Oshiro (2010), Ted and Helen Hughes (2009), the late Jane Heffelfinger (2008), Ron Lou-Poy (2007), Fiona Hyslop (2006), and Mel Cooper (2005).

Leadership Victoria is a community-based, voluntary organization committed to developing, supporting, recognizing and honouring outstanding community leaders. Since its formation in 2000, it has become the go-to organization for community leadership in Greater Victoria, graduating over 250 leaders who work collaboratively to resolve the complex challenges facing our city.

A list of this year’s award nominees is available at and videos from last year's ceremony can be viewed on our YouTube channel.

Photos of Judith and Nick are available upon request.

-- 30 --


In this story

Keywords: award

Related stories