$32,000 Raised at 10th Annual Moonlight Snowshoe Event for Take a Hike Youth At-Risk Foundation


Released Mar 02, 2016


Feb 25, 2016 – North Vancouver, BC – On Thursday night, over 100 dedicated participants converged atop Mount Seymour for Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation’s tenth annual Moonlight Snowshoe fundraiser. The event was sponsored by Mount Seymour, White Spot Restaurants, Purdy's Chocolatier, Juniper, Lonsdale Rentals and 102.7 The Peak. The amazing conditions just added to the enthusiasm of the evening, and the 10th anniversary of the Annual Moonlight Snowshoe turned into a spectacular celebration along some of the North Shore’s most enchanting trails.

Upon arriving for the evening, guests were greeted by students, a spectacular view and the musical talents of the Ken McCoy band. After mingling, checking out the silent auction items and donating to the TELUS Wall of Giving, guests were treated to a succulent stew provided by Juniper made with fresh organic potatoes provided by Hazelmere Organic Farm and carrots, celery and onions provided by GFS. Bread was provided by Nelson the Seagull and gluten-free bread was provided by Sweet Tooth Cakery.

Guests were a wide range of ages and experience levels with snowshoeing, many of the guests were new to the event including Gordon Matchett, the new CEO for the Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation: Gordon and an alumni who graduated two years ago from Take a Hike Emceed the evening. Gordon spoke about the event and the program “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. Take a Hike has met with so much success that they have recently expanded to include programs in Burnaby and West Kootenay.

During the course of the evening, three of the students shared their stories and what Take a Hike has meant to them. One of the students shared:

"Before I heard about the program, the words ‘Take a Hike’ meant “get out of here, leave, and be gone forever”. I’ve now been in the program for a year, and my definition of ‘Take a Hike’ is now “stay, be together, and we are a team”.

Another shared her personal journey from self harm and spiraling depression to hope and the blessing that Take a Hike was in her life. "Take a Hike was a blessing; it was the source of hope that restored my family. I cannot put into words the importance all of you play in this program, so give yourself a pat on the back, you've saved a lot of kids, including me, thank you."

A grade 12 student shared his experience of being a student at Take a Hike and the transformation the trips and staff have made in his life and credits the fact that he is on target to graduate this year to Take a Hike. "I owe a lot to the staff and donors of the Take a Hike program for giving me and many others the opportunity to grow as individuals and not slip through the cracks of the schooling system. Without the program I would not be the person that I am today, and I would probably have ended up dropping out of high school at grade nine. Take a Hike has had a huge impact on me mentally, emotionally, and physically. So again I want to sincerely thank you for everything that you guys give so that students like me and my classmates have a second chance to succeed."

Pamela Lee has been supporting the work of the Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation as a donor and volunteer for over 10 years she and her husband have been attending the Moonlight Snowshoe event since the beginning. Pamela and Stephen were awarded with a tribute from the students and presented with a hand carved oar as a gift of gratitude. Pamela had this to say about Take a Hike. "After 10 years of supporting Take a Hike we (Stephen and I) imagine that many students who benefited from donor support are now leading happy and productive lives, having been guided away from the pitfalls of adolescence that might have threatened such an outcome. The snowshoe event gives us an opportunity to meet some of the students we're helping and to introduce our friends to a great cause".

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 to chat about their trek. The event was enhanced with mugs for every participant from Purdy's and decorating support from Greenscape Design & Decor. The evening was capped off with more live music by West Van Morrison, Tea from David's Tea and mini donuts from Cartems. The evening was wrapped up with a raffle and silent auction items donated from local supporters such as the Pemberton Music Festival, Dan Mangan, Pabst Canada, Equal Balance Fitness, Saul Good Co., Alpine Canada, Canadian Freestyle Ski Association, Canada Snowboard, SPUD, Hotel Grand Pacific, Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa, Supplements Vitamins Plus and lots more.

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 Mount Seymour and White Spot.

For more information on the event, and to read student and alumni testimonies, visit: takeahikefoundation.org.

Event Photos

Photo One – Take a Hike Foundation’s, new CEO, Gordon Matchett. 
Photo Two – Take a Hike Student sharing his experiences and successes in the program. 
Photo Three – Opening act for the night, Ken McCoy Band. 
Photo Four – Moonlight Snowshoe Participant’s, Students and Staff. 
Photo Five – Hand-carved paddle made by TAH Students for long-time Snowshoe Participants, Pamela Lee and Stephan Forgacs. 
Photo Six – Silent Auction table – made possible with many thanks to our gracious donors.

About the Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation

Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation offers an alternative education program that engages at-risk youth through a unique combination of adventure-based learning, academics, therapy, and community involvement. The program is offered in Vancouver, Burnaby and the West Kootenays to youth in grades 10-12 who have few remaining options and enables them to positively change their lives.

Sevan Kadian