Vancouver, BC – On Thursday night, over 100 dedicated participants converged atop Mount Seymour for Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation’s ninth annual Moonlight Snowshoe fundraiser. The event was sponsored by Mount Seymour, White Spot Restaurants and 102.7 The Peak. The lack of snow did nothing to dim the enthusiasm of the evening, and what was meant to be a snowshoe turned into a moonlit hike along some of the North Shore’s most enchanting trails.
From Matthew Coyne, CEO for the Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation: “Take a Hike Foundation’s annual Moonlight Snowshoe not only helps raise funds to support our innovative, academic program; but equally important, it provides the community the opportunity to connect directly with our students and offers a glimpse into the Take a Hike experience and what makes our program so unique.” Take a Hike is an alternative education program that has engaged hundreds of Vancouver’s at-risk youth in the 14 years since its inception through a unique combination of adventure-based learning, academics, therapy, and community outreach. Its holistic approach empowers its teenage participants to overcome issues inhibiting their success in the mainstream school system.
“I ended up failing grade nine twice. I tried to catch up, but I couldn’t. At Take a Hike, the mix of support, outdoor fitness and freedom helped me change my view on schooling and my future. Now I get up early every day and am excited to go to school,” grade 10 student, Eden, told the crowd on Thursday. Take a Hike has met with so much success that they have recently expanded to include programs in Burnaby and West Kootenay.
Detective Constable Rich Kent, this year’s top fundraiser with over $4,000 explains why he is so invested in Take a Hike and its students, “Every year I put a lot of effort into fundraising because it’s an extraordinary program that helps youth work through their struggles and achieve their goals. It’s important to me to show them that not only I, but also dozens of other VPD officers, are here to support them. I look forward to continuing to work with the program, not only financially, but as a mentor as well.” With in-kind donations and sponsorship dollars covering event costs, all funds raised at the Moonlight Snowshoe directly support the three Take a Hike programs.
Students and staff from the program partnered with experienced guides to lead participants on an intimate hike through Mount Seymour’s moonlit trails, pausing in the woods at Purdys Chocolatier‘s “Moon Bar” to enjoy a mug of decadent hot chocolate and the acoustic talents of Shaun Rawlins. The event was enhanced with toques for every participant from Bell Let’s Talk and decorating support from Greenscape Design & Decor. The evening capped off with a Moroccan stew prepared by Chill Winston, more live music by Tobacco Brown and Brent Tyler, and a silent auction with items donated from local supporters such as Dan Mangan, Icebreaker, Vancouver Courier, Mountain Equipment Co-op and Patagonia.
While each participant committed to raising $150, most exceeded this goal significantly and were eligible to receive dozens of fundraising incentives from a variety of sponsors including WestJet, Pemberton Music Festival, Yuk Yuks and Whistler Blackcomb.