After a successful canoeing fundraiser last year, the local United Native Friendship Centre is set to get volunteers paddling from here to Rainy River for a good cause Aug. 19-22.
But the fundraiser still needs support—both from sponsors and participants—to make the three-day event even better than last year’s inaugural effort.
“We’ve asked local businesses and have heard back from some. But we’re looking to raise $5,000, and so far, we’ve got about $1,500,” said co-organizer and UNFC youth worker R.J. Comeau.
He added the suggested pledge is $1 per km, noting that means the trip would mean $100 from each sponsor.
Half of the funds will go to the UNFC’s youth programming, like the Li’l Eagles and youth centre, while the other half is earmarked for the OPP’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program.
Organizers have made sure businesses from here to Rainy River have been contacted about the fundraiser.
In an effort to raise their profile, Comeau noted organizers also are aiming to get enough paddlers to man 10 two-person canoes out on the river as opposed to the two canoes that made the trip last year.
“We tried to get all the big names. But some just said they would there for the send-off, which is great, [and] some said they’ll do it next year,” he remarked.
Those who are confirmed to make the trek include Comeau, fellow youth worker Leonard Bird, program co-ordinator Steve Parks, and Stanjikoming Chief Edward Morrison.
Comeau, who went on the maiden voyage last year, said while the trip is for a good cause, it is a lot of work.
“We got a lot of people saying, ‘Why don’t you go the other way down the river. But let me tell you, the current has no factor,” he remarked. “It’s a heckuva trip any way you do it.”
Comeau added the idea for the canoeing fundraiser is something organizers would like to see become a tradition.
“We were tired of the old-fashioned fundraisers. With this, we’re trying to raise awareness and support for our programs, and D.A.R.E., which helps youth across the whole district,” he noted.
Last year’s fundraiser brought in about $4,000.
Any sponsors or participants can get involved by contacting Comeau at 274-0561.
Those who want to see the modern-day voyageurs off Aug. 19 can go to the water tower at 7 a.m. They are expected to arrive in Rainy River sometime on the afternoon of Aug. 22.