Saturday, December 02, 2023

DYW Sandpoint program canceled

Staff Writer | March 4, 2022 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — The Distinguished Young Women of Sandpoint program has been canceled.

The program had been set to take place Saturday.

The decision to cancel the program came after the DYW of Sandpoint Committee learned of an incident in which there were violations of the code of conduct, program officials said.

"This decision is devastating," Darady Michaelson, state chairman for the program, said. "We love the girls and the committee has spent so much time with them.

"This is not the ideal outcome and this decision was not made lightly," Michaelson said. "We are saddened that this action had to be taken."

State and local officials said they are saddened by the decision but said it was one that had to be made to protect the program's integrity.

Michaelson declined to elaborate on the nature of the incident, instead saying it was a clear violation of the code of conduct that program participants and their parents all signed.

In a statement, DYW officials thanked volunteers and the community for the support of the program and said they remain committed to protecting the integrity and reputation of this program. 

Donors are being given the option of having their money moved ahead to next year's program or being returned. Those who wish their donation to be returned can submit a request in writing by March 31 to program officials. Any ticket funds that can be returned after program expenses are factored in will be, Michaelson said.

Michaelson said some parents supported the decision while others questioned if another, less-severe measure could have been taken. However, after all options were considered, following a lengthy meeting with program participants and their parents, the decision was made to cancel.

"In the end, this is the only [option] that makes sense and is totally fair," she said.

However, one parent said he felt it was unfair to cancel the entire program and punish everyone. He said his daughter was devastated by the cancelation of the program and he also is frustrated by the outcome.

Bottom line, Michaelson said, is that while the program had to be canceled, they still love the girls and know they have unlimited potential to accomplish whatever they set their sights on.

"We still consider them to be distinguished young women, we just can't hold the program," she said. "Our wish is for them to have the bright, amazing futures that we know they are capable of achieving."

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