Take a Hike Update

For the past 4 years, your contributions have allowed Take a Hike to include Fall expeditions for their participants. In 2012, these included:

  • Grade 10/11 3-day hiking expedition to Tenquille Lake 
  • Grade 10/11 4-day kayaking expedition to Granite Falls
  • Grade 11/12 10-day canoeing expedition to the Bowron Lakes (September)

Because they rock, they made a special video to thank SHLF supporters.

Nothing beats feedback from Participants themselves:

“I personally like how the teachers at TAH think of me.  The way they think of me is enjoyable to talk about and it makes me feel better as a person.”  

“Being at TAH helps me get organized.  I would like to be known as logical because I rarely make decisions with some logic to back it up.  I have made some bad choices and I want to change that and start using my logic to make some good choices.”

“I personally think that I was very successful on this trip.  I did everything that was asked of me to the best I could do it.  I think I aced it!  This trip was physically and mentally tiring but I am really glad I went on it.” 

“To make us a very efficient group we have to put the group before ourselves even though I didn’t know half of them before this trip.”

“Being out here just immediately changes the way I think and see things.  I have a more open mind out here because all the stress is left behind in the city, along with lots of distractions.  Out here you get to enjoy all the little things in the world, care of mother nature.  I feel so peaceful when I’m looking around at the beautiful scenery and animals.  I’m a new me.”

“By day 7 I felt better than I had in over a year.  I left behind my anxiety and I’m coming back with a better attitude.”

“When I’m out here I have a clear mind and I can think straight.  When I’m in the city I get stressed thinking about school and life and do stupid things to relieve the stress, but out here you learn there are other ways to relax.”

“I love how this trip made me feel more alive and in touch with the wilderness.  This camping trip made me see things in myself that I’ve never seen before.  It made me stronger mentally, spiritually and physically.  This trip made me appreciate the small things in the world like the trees and the animals that you can’t see in the city.

Streetfront Update

For the 4th year,  SHLF is proud to partner with Streetfront to provide disadvantaged kids with opportunities to experience real challenge and adventures. Their inspirational program continues to churn out success stories.

Meet  Frankie Joseph – 17 years old; high school graduate; finisher of 8 full marathons; part-time job; volunteer extraordinaire and soon to be college student.

Frankie is an amazing kid who had  not just fallen through the cracks,  but in so doing had metaphorically smashed his head on the proverbial ground and been given up on. He arrived at Streetfront 3 years ago with a painful and heartbreaking history and enough attitude to fill the entire classroom.  He was a beauty – quick to attack and always on the defensive. They had seen kids like this before and thought he’d be some work but worth putting the time into. 

Frankie was results oriented kid – give him a task and he wanted to complete it. He especially liked the satisfaction of doing something that others couldn’t.  He prided himself on being a physical specimen and always wanted to beat others.

Streetfront utilizes a rigorous physical activity regiment. 40% of every day is spent on fitness and there is a mandatory running program (3 x 5/10 km runs).  Someone challenged Frankie to a race.  Frankie underestimated the pedigree of the other students –  over 100 students have run full marathons. He took the challenge, thinking it was his 10km race to win. Frankie went out like Usain Bolt.  He was 10 blocks ahead in the first 10 minutes, practically crawling at 20 minutes and throwing up at 30 minutes. The experienced student didn’t gloat– he actually stayed with Frankie to help him finish. 

Though humbling, it was an important day in his young life.  He would not be embarrassed like that again.  Within weeks, he was the most dedicated runner. He quickly became their fastest runner and ran his first marathon at the end of his 3rd month (3:52 at 14 years old). He had swallowed the bait.  He was working harder than he ever had and was starting to receive positive feedback for the first time in his life. Without even realizing it, he started applying the same attitude to school – going from failing to a B average.  His acrimonious attitude subsided because he started to KNOW he was a talented and important person. He had changed his life.

Frankie graduated from Britannia Secondary School in June. It was a magical night. He dressed impeccably.  He walked tall and proud. He looked like he belonged.

In the words of Program Director Trevor Stokes: “ Who paid for all the marathon entry fees? Running shoes? Rediscovery camps? Athletic Fees so he could play on the senior basketball and cross country teams? His graduation suit? His school supplies?  All of this came from SHLF.  This money bought a kid a life.  I think its money well spent.”

Bouncing Boys Back to Books Update

It was a record setting summer for the Bouncing Boys Back to Books!

Held at Westmount Park Elementary School, the camp welcomed 30 students  for two weeks of educational, sports and fun activities.

Highlights this year included field trips to the National Film Board and LaserQuest. Aside from field trips, students also performed plays that they created for their families and exchanged self-made character trading cards with their friends in the spirit of promoting literacy through student-generated projects. Basketball activities were geared toward team building and collaboration.

A further highlight this year was the onset of peer mentors. Recent elementary school graduates returned for the 2 weeks to help the students achieve their self-designed goals.

At the end of the camp, students and their families were invited to celebrate a successful camp with a Bar-B-Q. 

See the amazing stop animation video the students made during their trip to the National Film Board.



Loyola/Westhaven Update

For the 3rd year in a row, SHLF is proud to support the youth basketball teams at both the Loyola and Westhaven Community Centres in the Notre Dame des Grace area of Montreal. They are non-competitive programs and aim to teach the participants the fundamental values of commitment and teamwork. Importantly, they are the first teams that are in walking distance of the children's homes.  Funding includes a 'walk-safe' program to make sure that they get home each night after practice.

The season kicked off once again in September 2012 with demand so high that an extra team was added! Now, over 100 kids are receiving regular practice, coaching and game time thanks to SHLF supporters!