It’s been five years since a band of Sun Peaks friends united to form the Bluebird Day Fund (BDF), a non-profit built to honour the memory and spirit of Bryn Taylor.
Bryn was a Sun Peaks local and Oronge Boardshop sponsored snowboarder who died in 2006.
“His goal was just to get everyone out on the hill and go snowboarding,” explains Bryan Lupul, president of the fund. “So we started a foundation just selling stickers and t-shirts off the start to raise money to help local kids get out and go to competitions, and it sort of blossomed from there.”
Now the foundation provides reimbursement for athletes’ competition expenses, park sessions with Sun Peaks Resort’s snow sports school, and is in partnership with the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Kamloops (BBBS).
“(For the park sessions) we were looking for kids who were at the level that they’re hitting the park
. . . but they need that extra bit of training so they can start going to competitions,” says Lupul. “They pay the same amount at the start of the year as the Sun Peaks program and if they complete the whole season without missing too many days, we refund them all the money that they paid into the program.”
The fund’s relationship with Big Brothers, Big Sisters targets a different group of youngsters as it aims to pair up some of the 80 plus kids on Kamloops’ Big Brothers, Big Sisters waiting list with “bigs.”
“We’re taking kids from the BBBS program and setting them up with gear, we’re scouring Sun Peaks and Kamloops to find people to be mentors to the kids for the season,” explains Lupul. “We’re paying for lunch, paying for their lift ticket and paying for a ride up.”
Opening up the world of skiing, snowboarding and competition to kids who otherwise wouldn’t be able is made possible through volunteerism and fundraising.
“We purchased a lot of park equipment, probably over $30,000 of park equipment as far as the wall ride, all the rail features, box features, anything blue in the snowboard park has all been purchased by the BDF,” explains board member Kent “Koach” Thiessen. “That was another way we’ve given back to the community.”
Capital donations like that require significant fundraising efforts, and one of the premiere fundraising drives of the BDF’s year is the Fall Ball, taking place this year on November 3 at Masa’s Bar and Grill. Kamloops band Earthbound and Sun Peaks’ DJ Crash Course will be entertaining the crowd.
“One hundred per cent of the proceeds from this fundraiser goes directly to the BDF, which in turn, goes directly back into the community through our various sports programs,” explains Ryan Wilkinson, events director for the fund. “We’re celebrating (our) five year anniversary, and we wanted to make it an extra special evening by adding some mystery, so this year’s event will be our very first masquerade formal. Guests are encouraged to attend wearing fun masks to show their unique individuality.”
The fund also hosts a Season Sender Ender Bender, the Giver Balls Open Golf Tournament and Banked Slalom as well as film releases and rail jams.
“The communities of Sun Peaks and Kamloops are really generous in time, in money, in giving back, and we’ve got a pretty awesome group of people around here,” says Thiessen. “That’s why the BDF is strong, and it’ll just keep getting stronger. It’s all about the people you surround yourself with.”
For more on the Bluebird Day Fund and for Fall Ball ticket information visit bluebirddayfund.com.