Reaching out to Langley’s youth—how the legacy began: Langley residents were honoured with a $50,000 donation to TWU

Langley, B.C.— The teachable moments in a child’s life aren’t always planned. But when they occur, the results can last a lifetime. For one Langley resident that moment happened over four decades ago in a small town in Saskatchewan where he set his son on a course that would eventually help shape Langley’s heritage.

For many years, Elmer Snider was the Superintendent of the Canadian Sunday School Mission in Alberta. Part of his responsibilities included overseeing youth camping programs which consisted of over 200 campers and counsellors. On one occasion the group needed to move from one camp to another so Elmer’s 16 year son, Neil asked him, “Who’s going to lead this?” and his father asked back, “Well can’t you do it?” Stunned and honoured by the responsibility, Neil agreed.

“Growing up, I felt believed in,” says Neil. “I was given opportunities to lead far beyond what would be expected of someone so young—but I was also accountable for the results.”

Today, Neil is Dr. Neil Snider, president of Langley’s Trinity Western University and the longest serving active president of a Canadian University. There he continues his parents’ vision. “To develop leaders we have to believe in them and give them opportunities to lead,” he says. As parents of Dr. Snider, Elmer and Anne have a lot to be proud of. But their son is only one of the many people they have touched.

In late March of 2003 it was standing-room only in the reception of over 150 people who came to honour Langley residents Elmer and Anne Snider at Trinity Western University. Months prior, friends and family had pledged $50,000 to sponsor a room in the newly acquired Northwest building, and named it in Anne and Elmer’s honour.

“I have been blessed to watch my parents lead a life characterized by inspiring Canadian youth to become healthy, positive and contributing members of society,” says Neil Snider.

For decades the Sniders pioneered summer camps across Canada, investing their lives into developing Canadian youth. Often with little pay, if any at all, the couple established and supported dozens of camps across the country. Their son, Neil, now continues their legacy, not through summer camp, but through the university. For the past 40 years, in the heart of Langley, TWU has produced positive leaders who actively give back to their community. “Their legacy has inspired friends and family to make a donation in honour of my parents,” says Neil Snider of Elmer and Anne who are now in their late 80’s.

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts university enrolling over 3,200 students this year. With a broad based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 38 major areas of study ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 other graduate degrees including counseling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.

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Last Updated: 2015-07-13
Author: Keela Keeping