Members of the Parish of All Saints, Mission participated in a rewarding and fun community building and fundraising activity on Saturday, September 25th.
The event was titled Paddling for All Saints and was spearheaded by All Saints parishioner’s Joy Cox and Margaret Peake with the enthusiastic support of Incumbent Sharon Salomons, the Wardens and Trustees. They also invited the Diocesan Communications Officer to attend, which I did.
In their lives outside of the church Margaret and Joy had met Jay Lundy, a trainer and motivational speaker who also owns a company called Voyageur Adventures.
Jay started the company at first to provide opportunities for companies and organizations to offer their members a unique teambuilding experience and then he expanded his scope to provide an educational experience for school groups. And recently he has introduced paddling as a fundraiser for non-profit groups.
Paddling for Dollars
Each person participating solicits sponsorships from friends and relatives at a rate of a penny or pennies per stroke. For the All Saints version each participant had received sponsorship for 100 strokes. There were a total of 38 sponsored participants (19 in each boat). Once the paddlers were in the canoes, out on the glassy water of Alouette Lake in Golden Ears Provincial Park and had received their orientation and instruction, the two guides, Jay and his associate Michael Vienes (photo on right) announced to whom the next 100 strokes were dedicated. Then it was time to paddle, following the Avant, the person at the front of the canoe who sets the pace. Over a period of two and half hours the two canoes consisting of two teams of All Saints parishioners (Wolves and Beavers) accomplished their paddling task 19 times with another 200 (or so) strokes added for positioning and then a race at the finish which ended in a dead heat.
In total, each canoe of paddlers logged 2300 strokes which as of this writing has translated into over 4 thousand dollars (the final tally has not yet been arrived at but organizers believe the amount could reach the 5 thousand dollar mark) raised for the mission and ministry of All Saints, Mission.
The fundraising component of this event is significant, however it isn’t the only benefit. Jay Lundy began the day with an entertaining and factual information session about the Courer de bois and their place in Canadian History. These men (voyageurs) who paddled 14 hours a day at a rate of 55 strokes per minute played a very important role in the development of Canada. Voyageurs had a specific argot and a culture unique to their profession. Jay and Michael demonstrated some of that culture and urged the All Saints folks to join in by executing the voyageur salute  and banging the paddles on the canoe in celebration of each 100 strokes accomplished.
This was also a great all ages event, the youngest paddler was Petra Knight, 8 and the eldest was Peggy Stoliker at 87. Both Petra and Peggy took a turn being the Avant and setting the pace for their crews. In the seat in front of me was Sally Buchanan, 81. Sally was extraordinary, she just seemed to get stronger as the day went on and her tenacity and commitment to the task was an inspiration to the younger paddlers.
The All Saint’s community grew a little closer, 40 people got some very healthy exercise, we learned some history, we functioned as teams and money was raised for the Mission of God in the world.
Not a bad morning’s work.
If you think your parish or organization might benefit from this experience please follow the link to the Voyageur Adventures website. The fundraising option is a new component of Jay’s business so there may be limited information on the site.
For more information please contact Joy and Margaret.