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At SOS Pride, our mission is to foster a vibrant and inclusive community that celebrates and supports the diverse 2SLGBTQIA+ population in the South Okanagan and Similkameen. We are dedicated to promoting equality, understanding, and acceptance through education, advocacy, and engaging events.

Our society strives to create a safe and welcoming space where all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression, can express themselves authentically without fear of discrimination or prejudice. We aim to empower and uplift 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals, their families, and allies, providing them with resources, support networks, and opportunities for personal growth.

Through collaborative partnerships with local organizations, businesses, and community leaders, we seek to raise awareness about 2SLGBTQIA+ issues and promote positive change within Penticton. We advocate for policies and legislation that protect the rights and well-being of 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals.

By celebrating diversity and embracing the uniqueness of every individual, we envision a future where the South Okanagan and Similkameen communities are known for their inclusivity, acceptance, and celebration of 2SLGBTQIA+ identities. 

Together, we can prove that Love is stronger that hate. Together we can create an equitable and just society where everyone can live their lives authentically and with dignity.

Join us in our mission to build a stronger, more inclusive region for all!

- SOS Pride Board of Directors 2023

OUR MISSION

OUR FEARLESS DIRECTORS

Our Volunteer Board of Directors are truly out of this world!

Are you interested in becoming a Director? Contact us with a bit of info about yourself and why you'd like to join. Our AGM, where new Directors are voted in, takes place in October.

Directors
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President

Melisa Edgerly (They/Them)

Melisa contributes to several local & provincial committees and tables. Melisa looks forward to sharing their voice as an identifying queer and non-binary person on the Community Foundation’s Board, and being a part of the change that will make a difference for future generations to come.

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Treasurer

Heather Adamson (She/Her)

Heather joined the SOS Pride Board of Directors in October 2018 as a Director at Large. She served as Secretary/Treasurer from 2020-2022 and for the 2022/2023 term has served as Communications Director and Treasurer. 

 

Heather has been passionate about community volunteerism since her youth. She has served on various boards and committees throughout her life to contribute to her community.  Her professional career as an educator and community development advocate has taken her across the province working primarily in rural and Indigenous communities.  

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Secretary

Kayley Robb (She/Her)

Kayley joined the SOS Pride board in October 2022 as a Director at Large. She began serving as Secretary in 2023. 

 

Kayley's involvement on the SOS Pride board is driven by a strong commitment to advocating for 

2SLGBTQIA+ rights and fostering an inclusive community. She believes that through collaborative efforts and empowering initiatives, lasting positive change can be achieved.

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Vice President

Madeline Terbasket (They/Them)

Madeline joined the Board in the summer of 2021 as a Director at Large. They have been Vice President during the 2022/2023 term. 

 

Madeline joined the Board to help them connect with the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in the South Okanagan. They discovered a passion for designing posters, organizing, and hosting SOS Pride events. Madeline is proud to be a part of an organization dedicated to creating safer spaces for queer people to have fun.

 

Madeline is a two-spirit artist, proudly syilx, Ho-chunk, and Anishinaabe and grew up in the Similkameen.

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Merchandise & Fundraising Director 

Kaitlin (Kai) Vikse (They/She/He)

Kai joined the SOS Pride Board of Directors in October 2022. This is their first term serving the board and currently holds the title of Director of Merchandise & Fundraising. 

 

Kai has been an active volunteer in each community they have been a part of since their youth. They have served in a variety of roles for various non-profits. Their commitment for volunteering and strengthening community has taken them across provincial and federal borders. 

 

Kai hasn’t settled on a career but strives to build one that is creative and spreads joy.

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Director

Elanta Algadzis (They/Them)

Elanta joined the Board in the fall of 2022 as a Director.

 

Elanta joined the Board in order to be able to help them with their personal growth in the queer community, and the ability to stand for others who may not have the support they deserve. 

 

Elanta is thankful of all the support and friendship the Board and community has provided and looks to contribute to that same energy with others. 

Our Herstory

OUR HER-STORY

In the 1980's and 1990's, through friendships and relationships, a group of women decided to meet on a monthly basis to further socialize and talk about their experiences as members of the women's community and the politics of the time and history thereof. Meetings were held at rentable office space on Martin Street near where the old SuperValu used to be downtown.   An acronym for the group at that time was W.I.L.L.O.W. Women In Love Loving Other Women.

Over time, a decision was made to reach out in the community to have a "gay" function.  This was facilitated at a space called Voodos in downtown Penticton.  This was 2001.

 

With much success socially, further discussions amongst many of the attendees to these events were had which became the organization SOGALA - South Okanagan Gay and Lesbian Association.  

 

SOGALA carried on for many years.  It was almost entirely a social group holding potlucks and social outings for its followers.  The first youth group evolved, pizza nights sponsored by SOGALA. A move was made, for financial reasons, to Debbie's Diner in the industrial zone of Penticton.  Regular meetings were held for those interested and various chairs gave direction to the group and its intentions.

 

At around the same time, ORC was evolving (Okanagan Rainbow Coalition) out of Kelowna.  As well, NOGALO (North Okanagan Gay and Lesbian Association) formed in Vernon. There was good support from all in the entire Okanagan for socials and Pride parades.

 

At the AGM of SOGALA held at Casa Ouzeria in Penticton in 2016, an almost entirely new board took over with a more inclusive agenda, not only for socializing but focusing on the rights and needs of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and outreach to those in the area and to raise the profile of SOGALA, such as participating in the Keremeos Rodeo Parade, the PeachFest Parade and PRIDE month proclamations at City Hall in Penticton and socials and dances at various locations throughout Penticton and the south Okanagan. There was also active support for those other associations in the Okanagan.  Year-end parties for SOGALA were at the Penticton Lakeside Resort with catered dinners and DJs. This was the annual fundraising drive and membership drive to cover costs of the society.  Many events were also held at the Penticton Art Gallery. These were all highly visible events establishing SOGALA's presence.  

 

Over time, discussions were held as to a name change to one that was more inclusive. It was then determined that the name SOGALA  would change to SOS PRIDE - South Okanagan Similkameen PRIDE Society.

 

And now, here we are, 2023 working hard towards fostering a sense of inclusion, representation and safety for all members of our community. 

Thank you to John Archer for sourcing this information from directors, members, and leaders, past & present

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