The Bluebird Day Fund has teamed up with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Kamloops to provide a day of skiing or riding for prospective little brothers and sisters throughout the winter. To support the program, the Bluebird Day Fund is holding a gear drive to collect equipment and clothing for little brothers and sisters’ use.
Through their fundraising initiatives, the Bluebird Day Fund supports local riders and terrain park skiers to advance in their respective sports. Their financial support has provided sponsorship, event registration and training camps for athletes interested in pursuing their passion for skiing and riding. This new initiative came about after initial consultation with Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
“They reached out to us,” says Shannon Ritchie, Big Brothers, Big Sisters Kamloops mentoring coordinator supervisor. “They wanted to do a gear drive and after getting together with some of their members we decided to go a little bit beyond and match some Bluebird members to 10 kids from our waiting list.”
Big Brothers, Big Sisters matches kids, known as “littles” with mentors, known as “bigs.”
“We have approximately 80 kids currently waiting for a ‘big,’” says Ritchie. “It’s an opportunity for the mentors from Bluebird to decide if they want to continue after they’re done the winter program.”
The sports mentorship program provides a day on the mountain for little brothers and sisters from January to April.
“We’re taking 10 kids from the program and we’re providing transportation, lift tickets, lunch and mentors for the day,” says Bryan Lupul, the Bluebird Day Fund’s president.
According to Ritchie, aside from being active and learning a new skill, the little brothers and sisters selected for the program, “Will have a mentor, someone they can look up to, someone to spend time with, someone to talk to.”
The Bluebird gear drive intends to collect enough sets of clothing and equipment to outfit each child for a day of riding or skiing.
“We have a blue box at Bottoms Bar and Grill (in Sun Peaks) and Oronge Board Shop (on Victoria St. in Kamloops),” says Lupul. “We’re collecting old gear that’s still usable: old skis, boards, pants, goggles, jackets, helmets, toques, that kind of stuff.”
The gear they collect will be available to little brothers and sisters to sign out when it’s not in use for the Bluebird Day Fund.
“Initially we want to make sure we have enough gear for these 10 kids,” says Ritchie. “We’re going to house it here and it’s going to be like a lending library where the kids can come down and borrow it.”
The Bluebird’s sports mentorship program is one of many ways to support Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
“We’re really excited about this partnership,” says Ritchie. “If anyone else from Sun Peaks wants to get involved in any way with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, there are lots of ways.”