Over the next four weeks, community members will be charged with making it possible for young people to make summer camp memories.
The Northern BC YMCA launched their fourth annual Strong Kids campaign Monday, with the goal of raising enough funds to send 103 children to Camp Kanannaq and the Y's Aurora Leadership program.
Mayor Shari Green was at the Massey Drive location to declare Feb. 15 to March 15 Strong Kids month in the city of Prince George.
"We're in year four of this campaign and our goal, given its our 50th anniversary, is to raise $19,640," said YMCA CEO Amanda Alexander, referring to the organization's 1964 incorporation date.
On average, 25 per cent of the campers are subsidized, said Alexander, which she noted covers a multitude of reasons why community members can't access a summer camp experience.
"And everybody wants to go to camp and have that fun experience where you can be connected to the outdoors and have fun with your friends and learn canoeing and archery and all sorts of neat stuff," she said.
"A huge premise of the YMCA is accessibility - that everyone should be able to have access to our programs. So this is an awesome way for us to raise money to make that happen."
Until March 15, donations can be made directly to the campaign through the Y's website (www.nbcy.org), as well as by bidding on bird feeders put together by residents of Simon Fraser Lodge and the participants in the organization's child-care program. Lodge residents also built a chair out of wooden pallets that's up for auction.
Last year's campaign raised just shy of its $18,000 goal.
Activities also include the return of the Strong Kids Challenges, where a group of seven individuals representing YMCA staff, members and volunteers collect points and pledges as they participate in a number of YMCA activities such as volunteering with affiliated groups and taking fitness classes.
Last year's defending champion, Canadian Tire owner Selen Alpay, said he wasn't even aware of all the things the YMCA did for the community before he got involved in the challenge.
"YMCA is the fabric of this community - they contribute to so many different things in this community that a lot of people aren't even aware of, he said.
"For me it's sort of an awareness piece, too."
And while he started volunteering at places such as the Simon Fraser Lodge because of the points it earned him for the challenge, it turned into a more permanent relationship.
"I made a connection with a lot of those people there and for the last year I've been going to bingo at 1:30 every Thursday afternoon and I do that every week, unless I'm not here," said Alpay.
"And as a result I've made a number of really, really good friends there - amazing people - and I learn a lot from them every day."
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