Elevation Social Impact

Programming in a Pandemic

As we all know by now, life looks a lot different than it did a couple of months ago.  In the middle of March we were wrapping up our Learn to Shred program that saw our largest number of participants ever join us at Big White over the winter to learn to snowboard and improve their skills.  We were experiencing one of the deepest snowpacks in recent memory, and conditions had been amazing all winter long for the youth in our programs to learn on.  Our brand new Leaders in Action program was coming along nicely with a great crew looking forward to the Spring and all the fun that it promised to bring.

 

 

Then in what felt like an instant everything changed.

Now we all have new phrases like “flattening the curve”, “social distancing” and “Why can’t I buy any toilet paper?” burned into our brains.  Zoom meetings are the way to attend class, go to work, and host a happy hour, and the “new normal” is still a bit of a mythological thing.

Throughout all of this our team has been working behind the scenes to gain an understanding of what it will be possible for the coming summer.  With the Provincial Government announcing the re-opening plan earlier this week, it was a big step forward as it allows organizations of all types to really understand what it will take to be able to operate in some capacity in the coming months.

For us, we will be taking a slow approach to getting programs up and running again.  We take the responsibility of participant safety very seriously.  Not just in Covid times, but at all times as some of the activities we are introducing our participants to have a higher level of risk associated with them.

As we move towards our summer program schedule being open for registration, we wanted to outline some of the steps we are taking to help reduce the risks of Covid-19 for our staff, participants, and volunteers.

  • Changing the program to only have 5-6 participants.  6 only if multiple youth are from the same household to ensure that physical distancing can be adhered to on our bus.
  • Mandatory sneeze guards(bandana, mask, buff etc) worn over the mouth and nose at all times while on the bus.
  • Mandatory use of hand sanitizer before getting on the bus each time.
  • No sharing of equipment -example: participants will use the same bike each day of riding to limit the number of people touching each bike.
  • All bikes will be cleaned/sanitized at the end of each day.
  • Participants only touch their own equipment for each sport.
  • Increased spacing between participants during various activities (example: extra spacing when biking).
  • Limiting trail difficulty to ensure all trails are well within the skill level of all campers.
  • 0 tolerance policy for behaviours that put other campers at risk.

We will be adhering to all guidelines from the Provincial Health Office, so our policies may change/be updated as more information becomes available in the coming weeks and months.  We are also looking to industry leaders to see what steps they are taking to ensure we are following best practices where available.

In all of this we ask for your patience.  These are unprecedented times and we are working hard to ensure we do our part.

At the end of the day much of what our Provincial and National leaders have said demonstrates what Elevation Outdoors has always believed in.  Getting outside and being physically active is good for all of us, even in the middle of a pandemic.

We look forward to seeing all of you outside with smiles on our faces in the coming weeks and months.

Stay safe out there and remember #outsideisthebestside.

Little Things – Big Difference

It’s the little things that make a big difference.

Here at Elevation Outdoors we are all about chasing the big ideas. We believe that by introducing a young person to the joys of playing outside it can help them find a lifelong passion that has the ability to shape their future life choices. We believe in equality for all youth in our community and that all persons should be able to access sports regardless of their personal circumstances. We believe in the power of recreation and play to assist in improving a person’s overall mental and physical well-being.

Big lofty ideas are what organizations like ours are built upon, but the path to achieving any big idea is built on a number of small steps and achievements.

If you look at any one of the small steps we take to achieve our goals they may seem insignificant. Our first ever Learn to Shred program had 6 participants and that was the only program we ran that year. One could look at that and say, you only helped 6 kids in a whole year? What was the point of doing that? To us, that was the start of something great and this winter will see 40-45 participants come through our snowboard program and 130+ youth across all of our programs, all because we took that first step and ran a program one time with “only” 6 people.

Our summer camps are another great example of the small things adding up to great success. When we launched our Intro to Adventure summer camps in 2016, and we ran our first ever week of summer camps with only 2 campers. We had a lot of fun, learned a few things, and at the end of the week thanked them for coming out, and as with any new venture quickly moved on to trying to figure out the next week and getting more campers signed up. In 2019 our summer camps sold out early, had a growing wait list, saw 38 campers come through, and contributed a strong return helping us fund full scholarship seats in our other programs throughout the year.

Live to Ride - Mountain Biking

Fundraising is a similar idea. Many people wonder, how much impact can my support create? A great example of this can be seen in our Monthly Donors. The first person to ever commit to being a monthly donor contributes $15/month. When this happened, it was something to celebrate for Elevation Outdoors as we had never had anyone support us like this before, and it was the start of something new. As we continue to grow and more community members support us, our monthly giving has been able to grow to where we now see 10-times that initial amount coming in each month. For many organizations this is insignificant, but for us this represents the power of the small things adding up. Over 12 months this amount coming in each month allows us to create 1 full scholarship in each of our Learn to Shred, Get a Grip, Live to Ride, Take a Hike, and Wind in Your Sails programs.

That scholarship funding equates to 5 opportunities for youth in our community to get out and experience something new, to make new friends and engage with our mentors to help them build skills that will last a lifetime. 5 opportunities to build a person’s self-confidence and improve their resiliency, 5 youth from our community who get a chance to see and experience first-hand some of the awesome things available right here in our own community. This all became possible because some amazing individuals in our community felt $10, $15, or $25/month was something they could contribute towards helping us achieve our big, lofty, ambitious goal of trying to change lives through outdoor recreation.

We challenge all of you to take a look around your lives and communities. What small thing can you do to help make it better? Can you spare 20 extra minutes to shovel an elderly neighbour’s driveway? Can you spare 4 hours a week to volunteer for a cause that you are passionate about? Can you skip buying a nice coffee 2x a month and donate that $10 a month to a worthy cause to help make our community a better place?

Together, if we all do a little, we can accomplish a lot.

Mike Greer
Executive Director

The return of winter.

As the season turns and the snow line starts to creep down the hills surrounding Kelowna we can’t help but to start getting excited for what is coming!

Each January sees the return of our longest running program, our Learn to Shred snowboard program.  This is the program that started it all for Elevation Outdoors, so for us the start of a new Shred season is a bit like an anniversary and something to celebrate.  Back in the winter of 2008 a small crew of dedicated volunteers launched the program and saw a group of 8 young people come out to learn. Fast forward to the upcoming 2020 season and we are looking forward to helping over 40 young people get out and spend time riding and learning about themselves at Big White.

For many of our team snowboarding is more than just something we do.  It is a lifelong passion, the reason we live here, and a way to get outside to spend time with loved ones.  To be able to share this passion with the next generation of riders and introduce them to something that has a chance to become a lifelong pursuit is why we get out of bed early on those cold dark January mornings to fire up the bus to get everyone up to the mountain.  Snowboarding can teach a person so much about life, but can also be a great escape to get away from all that life can throw at you. Some days we ride to celebrate a milestone or to share time with friends, other days we ride to get away from the challenges that life presents.  No matter what the reason you show up to the mountain and strap into your snowboard, for those hours nothing else matters and all can be right in the world.

See a video about the program here.

Within our Learn to Shred program we strive to teach the participants not only how to snowboard, but to also help them develop the skills that are needed to succeed at life.  The hours spent riding the bus to and from the mountain provide an amazing opportunity for our volunteers to engage with the participants and share not only their passion for the sport, but also life lessons and wisdom they have gained throughout their lives.  Time spent together riding a chairlift is a chance to reflect on the last run, but also a chance to reflect on what is going on in life and chat with new friends and mentors. Each week sees us focus on a new theme to help draw parallels between life and sport.  Patience. Resilience. Self Confidence. Direction.  These are all concepts that are needed not only to succeed in snowboarding, but to succeed in life.  By showing a young person these concepts and how they relate to success in sport can help them understand how they can also help them in life.

2020 sees some exciting changes for Elevation and our Learn to Shred program.  For the first time we are now opening up spaces in the program to ensure that young people from all walks of life have an opportunity to come out and experience how awesome playing outside in the mountains can be.  For families that do not meet our criteria to access our scholarship opportunities can now take advantage of the limited number of fee for service seats that we have available. For families that may not have the time or the knowledge to introduce your children to the sport, you can sign your child up to spend 4 weeks riding with our program, and know that not only are you giving your child a chance to snowboard, but the money you pay for them to participate is also helping us create an opportunity for others in our community to snowboard as well.  That is about as win-win as it can get in our eyes.  For parents interested in a paid seat you can also feel comfortable in knowing our program is one of the best prices you will find to introduce your child to the sport.  At only $600 for a seat this is well below what it would cost for 8 days of riding, rentals, and instruction.  When you factor in the group learning, mentorship, and pizza you can’t go wrong.

For more information or to register your child for our Learn to Shred program for this upcoming winter visit http://www.elevationoutdoors.ca/programs/snowboarding/.  For any family outside of our eligibility criteria that find the full price is a barrier get in touch with us to speak to our team about our partial scholarship seats that we have available to ensure that any young person that wants to learn has an opportunity.  

For all participants the program provides transportation to and from Big White, equipment rentals, lift tickets, lunch or supper each day, lessons from the amazing Big White instructors, mentorship from our volunteers, and access to any outwear that is needed.  Smiles and good times are also included.

If you are interested in being a part of the program in any way, as a participant, sponsor, volunteer, or bus driver please get in touch with us at info@elevationoutdoors.ca and we will get back to you with any information you are looking for.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has helped make this program possible over the years, from our amazing sponsors, our dedicated volunteers, and the now hundreds of young people that have taken the leap of faith and joined the program.  We feel that by helping build a passion for the outdoors in the next generation we are doing our small part in helping make the world a better place.  

For now do your snow dances, and soon enough we will see you all out on the slopes!

 

Mike Greer

Executive Director

Leaders in Action program receives support from MEC

As we get closer and closer to the launch of our brand new Leaders in Action program we have recently received a huge boost in making this program possible.  Elevation Outdoors has been selected to be a recipient of a Community Grant from MEC to support the new program and help get more young people outside and active.

The Leaders in Action program is our latest effort to help local youth gain meaningful experiences in the outdoors, making it a great fit for MEC and their funding.  With participants in the program having an opportunity to experience snowboarding, rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking and more the program will be sure to create lasting memories.

The Leaders in Action program will run for 10 months starting in late August with an overnight camping trip to help the group bond and run on average 2x per week until June.  In addition to the sport based experiences participants will gain valuable experience to help them develop their own leadership abilities.  After learning how to do the above mentioned activities they will have opportunities to then help others learn the skill to help them get comfortable in a teaching role sharing their knowledge.  With our team of volunteer mentors working with the program through out the year it also provides opportunities for the participants to build meaningful relationships with some older role models that are there to share their passion for each activity and to help the participants grow and learn about themselves.

           

Other opportunities within the program will be to take part in 2 or more job shadow days to help them discover possible job/career tracks in both the outdoor recreation industry but also in other fields of interest, develop skills like budgeting, trip planning, designing and executing fundraisers, as well as an opportunity to learn from an array of guest speakers that will come in and speak with the group through out the year.

With the financial support from MEC confirmed we are now confident that the program will move forward and are looking for up to 15 participants to join us for the 10 month long program.  Leaders in Action is open to youth ages 15-18 with consideration for those that will turn 15 during the program.  No prior sport experience is required and we provide all the needed equipment to take part in each activity that is included in the program.  There are full and partial scholarships available for families that meet our eligibility requirements, as well as paid spots for those that do not qualify to ensure that all young people in our community have an opportunity to share in this experience.

If you would like more information click here, or give us a call at 250-870-9094 to speak with our team today!

Media Release: Morningside Rotary club teams up with Elevation Outdoors to keep local youth rolling.

May 21, 2019: For Immediate Release

Kelowna, BC – Morningside Rotary club teams up with Elevation Outdoors to keep local youth rolling.

Every summer for the past 10 years Elevation Outdoors has been running their “Live to Ride” mountain bike program.  This summer thanks to the financial support of the Kelowna Morningside Rotary Club the program will be running on a new fleet of mountain bikes to ensure the participants have the best experience possible while learning how to mountain bike.  The recent sale of  Elevation’s first fleet of bikes, also purchased with the support of the Rotary club, and discounts provided by Cyclepath Kelowna and Giant make up the difference in this most recent purchase.

“Morningside Rotary Club of Kelowna are incredibly passionate about supporting youth and youth programs in our community.  The donation to Elevation Outdoors to assist with their biking programs furthers the opportunities available which can keep our youth interested and engaged to ensure they can reach their full potential.” Says Sheila Perepalkin, President of the Morningside Rotary Club.

The “Live to Ride” program runs for 7 weeks with rides twice a week introducing first time and beginner riders to the sport of mountain biking.  With the support of a team of volunteers the program helps riders build a passion while learning about themselves and building relationships with peers and the volunteers.  The bikes will also be used in the delivery of Elevation Outdoors popular “Intro to Adventure” summer camp programs and in their new “Leaders in Action” program starting this Fall.

“By owning our own bikes it allows us to keep our program costs down and ensure all participants have a proper sized bike while in our program.” Says Mike Greer, Executive Director of Elevation Outdoors.  “The continued support from the Morningside Rotary Club has allowed us to expand our fleet this year to continue making a positive impact in our community.”  The ever-popular program runs in July and August and is filling up quickly.

Elevation Outdoors is a local charity that provides outdoor recreation programs to youth in our community with full scholarships and partial scholarships available for their programs to ensure all young people have a chance to find a passion to keep them healthy and active for life.  In 2019 Elevation has started to open up a limited number of paid seats in each program to allow for youth from families outside our eligibility requirements to take part as a way to increase the sustainability of the organization.

Information and registration for the “Live to Ride” program can be found online at http://www.elevationoutdoors.ca/programs/mountain-biking/          

 

 

About Elevation Outdoors

Elevation Outdoors was founded in 2007 by Tori Hanson and a small group of dedicated individuals who recognized a need in our community.  From our first ever Learn to Shred program with 6 participants, our focus has always been on breaking down barriers and helping young people find a passion to help them lead a healthy, happier life.  Since then, we have expanded our program offerings to include snowboarding, rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking and sailing. All of our programs have full scholarship seats available for any eligible youth or families to ensure all young people have an opportunity to develop a healthy passion.  Starting in 2019, we have expanded who can access our programs so that families that do not meet our eligibility criteria can now pay for a seat in our programs as we believe that everyone deserves an opportunity to find a passion and learn from our amazing mentor team.

Elevation Outdoors provides all the required equipment for its different programs so that all participants need to do is show up with a positive attitude and a willingness to try something new. Transportation from a common meeting point is also included in our programs to ensure that each youth has an opportunity to participate. Each program is facilitated with the help of our team of volunteer mentors who are there to share their passion for the activity, and to build a positive relationship with the participants. We strive to keep ratios in our programs at 3:1 or lower so that our volunteer mentors and participants are able to have quality conversations and build a relationship while in our programs.

Since our first program in 2008, we have been able to help hundreds of young people find a new passion and develop more healthy lifestyles while learning skills that will stay with them for life.

Website | Facebook | Video of the program

For Media Inquiries:

Mike Greer

mike@elevationoutdoors.ca

250-870-9094 Ext 2

Creating Diversity in the Outdoors.

In today’s outdoor sports world there is a growing chorus of voices challenging everyone to do more to help create a more diverse mix of people using the outdoors, companies like MEC here in Canada and Patagonia, REI and the North Face globally are all recognizing things need to change.

While this is catching on and becoming a topic of conversation in the broader industry, it is something that we have been focused on since our very first programs in 2008.  We are by no means flawless at this, but we are always working on improving and doing our part. When we look internally at core team of 4 – our Executive Director, Program Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator and President of our Board of Directors, 75% of these positions are held by women.  Our current Board of Directors is over 50% women and within our volunteer team so far in 2019 43% of them have been females.

Creating an environment where our participants will feel comfortable is important to our organization and we believe this starts at the top.  The activities we are introducing young people to can be intimidating, and learning new skills and and allowing others to be a part of your learning process can be a tough thing for anyone.  Having program leaders and volunteers that you can identify with can help make a person more comfortable in their environment and that can help a young person learn as they are able to focus more on the task at hand and less on worrying about if they should even be there.

The winter of 2019 brought great pride to our team as we could see the impact of our dedication to diversity starting to really show.  Our Learn to Shred and Shred More programs this winter saw 28 participants join us to spend time learning to snowboard and improving their skills.  We had 40% of our participants were females and at least 25% identify as First Nations. We also saw our highest number ever of previous graduates coming back to volunteer with the program and help spark a passion in the younger generation.  We believe having these returning participants is one of our largest successes as it shows they have remained passionate about the activity, but also recognize that coming back to share that with others and help teach is important. For our younger participants to see volunteers and mentors that have come through the programs and come from a similar background as them can be a powerful thing as it shows them what is possible and gives them something to strive for!

Each winter season, thanks to the generous support of our sponsors and donors, we are able to provide a life changing gift to a few of our participants in our snowboard program.  Through our “Shred for Tristin Memorial Sponsorship”, our Rip Curl Youth Sponsorship and our own Youth Sponsorship participants selected by our team are provided with the gear they need to continue riding long after the program wraps up.  This season was a first for us…We saw the first female winner of one of these awards, quickly followed up with our second and third female winners!  These awards create a lasting impact for the winners as it helps remove many of the barriers they face to continued participation in the sport after our programs wrap up for the season.  To see the stoke on these young ladies faces when they learned their effort and attitude in the program created a lasting impression on our volunteers was an amazing experience to get to share with them.  A big THANK YOU to all of our sponsors and supporters that help us make those moments possible!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With other groups in town like the WFN Community Snowboard Team, Park Chics, and Chicks in the Sticks also doing their part to help create some diversity and giving our participants a comfortable space to move into after our programs we are just one small part to making some significant changes to the outdoors.  

We are always looking for more help and more diversity in our volunteer team.  If you or someone you know is passionate about the outdoors and would enjoy coming out to help build that passion in the next generation get in touch, we would love to hear from you!  Info@elevationoutdoors.ca

Our programs are open to young people 12-18 and our summer camps start at age 10, with both paid and scholarship seats available in all programs.  Register your child online today for any of our programs and give them a chance to experience the many joys that sport can bring a person.

 

 

 

Thanks to all the following organizations for helping make this program possible

 

One Boardshop     Spy Optics City of Kelowna Rip Curl

This Program is made possible with funding from the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities

A Shift…

A shift is occurring within our organization… a shift towards sustainability…towards greater diversity…towards the Future.

As we enter 2019 we are looking forward to a number of things as an organization.  First and foremost, the new year means another round of our longest running and most popular program, our Learn to Shred program.  Each winter brings a new crew of participants eager to learn how to snowboard and experience all the great things that comes with time spent playing in the mountains.  Once Spring hits we keep rolling with our climbing and mountain bike program to keep our local youth outside and active all year long!

 

2019 also represents the start of something new for Elevation Outdoors.  In 2018 we were successful in becoming one of two local organizations to benefit from the new United Way Social Enterprise Accelerator Fund with support from Interior Savings.  This support has allowed us to work with Purppl, a local Social Enterprise Incubator that helps organizations develop predictable and sustainable business models.

 

After 11 years of growth we realized that in order for Elevation Outdoors to still be around in another 11 years delivering great programs, and helping the youth in our community grow and learn, we needed to become a more sustainable organization ourselves.  While our community has always been incredibly generous and the support we receive has allowed us to reach this point, we know that to continue on with our mission we have to show our supporters and donors that we are evolving with the times.

 

In 2019 we are making a shift towards sustainability.  For the first time we will be opening up seats in each of our programs to families and youth that previously would not have been eligible to participate.  By adding a few seats into each program that are open to families that have the ability to pay for their child to participate, it brings in some much-needed funds to help us cover the costs of the programs for the families that are eligible for our scholarship seats.  We believe that this small shift can create some amazing outcomes. Sharing experiences with other youth that come from a different background can open up someone’s eyes and help them see that despite their differences they have more in common than perhaps they would have ever thought.  Sport can be a great equalizer, and we believe that by adding more diversity our programs it will create friendships that can carry through to school and life in a meaningful manner.

We believe that this change will over time create a sustainable, predictable revenue stream that will provide a strong foundation for our organization.  With donation rates in Canada in decline over the past couple of years, this shift will help us ensure we will be able to deliver on our vision to ensure “All local youth, regardless of personal circumstances, have the opportunity to make healthy lifestyle choices and experience personal growth through participation in challenging outdoor pursuits.”

We are proud to now be offering our programs to all young people in our community, regardless of background, to ensure that there is equal opportunity for all youth to find their passion for the outdoors.  Please help us spread the word that beginning February 2019, all youth in the Kelowna region are now able to participate in our programs and have life changing experiences.

Inspiring the next generation.

 

Inspiring the next generation. 

This is one of our biggest goals as an organization and the primary focus of all of our programs.  How do we reach youth that have never had the chance to participate in the sports we offer, and once we have how do we create a passion in them that will burn for years to come?  In addition to creating a passion within our participants, what can we do as an organization to remove some of the barriers they will face upon completing our programs in order to continue enjoying the activities they are now excited about?  These are the questions that are considered whenever we evaluate our programs and what we can do to make changes to what we offer.

During the 2018 winter season, unfortunately tragedy struck and a young man who inspired many through his passion for snowboarding, how he treated others, and his overall enthusiasm for life passed away while doing something he loved: Snowboarding.

As a result of this loss the community rallied around Tristin Croteau’s family, and came together to remember what he stood for and the impact he had made in countless lives.  Elevation Outdoors is incredibly humbled to be able to announce that we are working with his family to allow his legacy to continue through the Shred for Tristin Memorial Sponsorship.  As any rider knows, there is something about being able to get out on the mountain that can make life better no matter what else is going on in our lives.  Tristin embraced that, and this sponsorship will create an opportunity for the recipient of the award to continue to pursue their passion for the sport with far less barriers.  As a way to keep Tristin’s legacy alive each season one rider from our Shred More program will be selected by our team of volunteers to receive the award that we hope will be truly life changing.

Each year’s winner will receive all they need to keep riding after our programs wrap up: Board, boots, bindings, outer gear, helmets, and most importantly a season pass to Big White with the bus pass option for the following season.  This package will provide the winner an opportunity to continue to ride and have their passion for the sport continue to develop long after our programs have ended for the season.  It is the continued access through a season pass, and removing the transportation barrier to allow the winner to get to the mountain as often as they can that truly makes this award so impactful.  To create an opportunity like this for the sponsorship recipient we hope will allow them to carry on Tristin’s legacy and inspire others to get out and ride for the love of it.

 

“Never let go of the things you love.” – T.C.

We hope that our programs will ignite a fire deep inside the youth that are involved that will help keep them healthy and happy for the rest of their lives.  You never know where or when that inspiration will hit, be it in a simple conversation with one of our volunteers, or when they get to the bottom of a run and realize they did not fall the entire way down and that they can do this!  For some of us, we take it for granted that each winter will bring about the snowfall that allows us to get out and pursue our passions.  Through the Shred for Tristin Memorial Sponsorship we hope that each winner will be able to pursue their passion for the sport and carry on Tristin’s legacy and find their place in the same community that made Tristin feel so comfortable and confident.  For the winner to be able to build memories and skills that will last a life time is what inspires us to continue our work to create opportunities for young people to try something new and get out of their comfort zones.

Our inspiration is fed daily in many ways, through the generosity of our community, through the time and passion our amazing volunteers contribute to supporting our programs and engaging with the participants, and by seeing the look on a young persons face when they link their first turns and realize “I can do this!”.  We hope this award will inspire the winners, and many others to enjoy those moments of pure freedom experienced when all is washed away and the only concern is “what line to take next?”

What are you doing to inspire the next generation?

 

Mike Greer

Executive Director

Elevation Outdoors

 

 

Exciting News!

It is with great excitement that we are able to share this news!  Elevation Outdoors was chosen to be one of two recipients of the new Social Enterprise Accelerator Fund from the United Way CSO, Interior Savings and Purppl.

Elevation Outdoors has been working for the past 3 years to improve our own sustainability through the introduction of our “Intro to Adventure” summer camps and this investment will truly help us take our camps and our bus and bike rental programs to the next stage of growth.

“This investment will enable Elevation Outdoors to leverage the skills and equipment we already hold to increase our reach and become a more sustainable organization,” says Elevation Outdoors Founder Tori Hanson. “Our summer camps aim to get more young people into the outdoors, contributing to their mental and physical well-being, while generating income to subsidize our programs for at risk youth. The rental of our bike fleet and bus will help offset yearly operating costs.”

To see the full press release and learn more about the new fund from the United Way CSO and Interior Savings use the link below.

Local charities get boost from new Social Enterprise Accelerator Fund

 

 

 

 

Live to Ride - Mountain Biking

Creating Confidence

We live in the Okanagan Valley, home to a host of outdoor sport and recreational opportunities. Throughout my life I have always been a little anxious when I start to think about all of the possibilities I could possibly get myself involved in within the outdoors world. There are just that many options out there to try, and only so much time in this life to dedicate to said recreational opportunity. One must choose the time wisely. For example, there are infinite hikes and places to explore within this valley on foot and thinking about having only scratched the surface of these places, once again makes me panic just a little bit. I am driven to want to go to new local Okanagan places by bike, foot, or water vessel, see these places with my own kids, and explore all that this valley has to offer. Enter the feeling of anxiousness in trying to make this a reality… It is a feeling of ‘time is precious’, and I must choose the time to try new things and go new places well to be able to experience as much as possible. All of this is from the perspective of someone who has been dealt the great fortune of easily having opportunities to try these things, and an innate sense of adventure to go along with it.

 

But what exactly is it that makes someone want to try something new? A couple of key things come to mind: opportunity, and confidence. Being given opportunity to try new things comes from one’s own personal situation; family support, financial means, awareness, and community connections enable people to have their eyes opened to the possibilities that are out there.

 

Confidence though is an equally important piece to the adventurous puzzle, and one that does not necessarily come to everyone with ease. One can be born with a certain level of confidence but it is largely gained through personal experiences and character development.  Trying new things and putting yourself out there, to be willing to maybe make some mistakes and not have success the first time around takes the support of people around you; knowing that no one is going to laugh or make fun or you, but just be there to help you figure it out helps confidence grow. Hence, mentorship is also a big factor in building confidence. And so, without the confidence to believe in yourself and be comfortable to make mistakes, trying new things is not easy.

 

Within all of the Elevation Outdoors programs, we focus on Confidence as a theme. It is vitally important in helping young people grow and realize their full potential. We discuss what having confidence means, and also develop it through our programs by offering mentorship and new experiences. And in making mistakes, such as falling, then working through these mistakes and succeeding at the end, helps develop Confidence.

Giving opportunity to those who would not normally have it is also a fundamental part of Elevation Outdoors. We are providing the circumstances to young people with financial and social barriers to be able to try new things. We believe that everyone in this beautiful Okanagan valley should have the opportunity to try some of the amazing outdoor experiences that are out there, right at our fingertips. In this way we are also developing Confidence: allowing young people to try things out and have their eyes opened to some of the possibilities.   In providing the opportunity to try new things, and build confidence, we are providing Kelowna’s young people some of the tools for a successful life. In essence we are helping give the ability and confidence to become active and valuable members of this community. And with this gained confidence, we are encouraging that adventurous spirit in youth whose minds will be opened to many of the possibilities that are out there waiting for them to discover.

 

Tori Hanson

Founder.