Three Sun Peaks non-profit organizations have their attention tuned to the Sun Peaks Firefighters’ Annual Charity Gala, coming up on Sun Peaks Resort’s opening day, November 17.
Now in its 11th year, the Gala is an event that recognizes the efforts of the Sun Peaks’ Volunteer Firefighters’ Society (SPVFS), while it raises money for the firefighters’ society through ticket sales.
“The Firefighters gala, as we know it now, started as a thank you from the community post the Delta hotel fire on Oct. 26, 2001,” explains Mario Pozza, president of the SPVFS. “It’s an opportunity for the fire chief and the community to acknowledge the volunteers that work to make our community safer.”
In those early days the gala fundraised for equipment and training courses but over time, and with increased funding from, first, the Improvement District, and now the municipality, the volunteer firefighter society has been able to focus on supporting other objectives such as the Burn Fund, trust funds for fallen firefighters, and Operation Nicaragua. They also send volunteers to events such as the Fire Fit Challenge, and support community events like the annual Sun Peaks Trash Bash.
“Our need for funds has decreased over the years and as such we thought that the Firefighters’ Gala was an ideal venue to help raise funds for worthy community organizations,” continues Pozza. “The funds from the silent and the live auction go to (other local) charities and any net proceeds from the dinner go to the (volunteer firefighters’ society).”
The Sun Peaks Education Society (SPES) and Sun Peaks Speed Skiing Club (SPSSC) are the two beneficiaries of this year’s live and silent auction proceeds.
“This is our first year as a beneficiary and we’re thrilled to be part of it,” says Adam Earle, chairman of the SPSSC. “Our group has been involved with the Velocity Challenge and FIS Speed Ski World Cup at Sun Peaks for over 20 years now and events like this will help us develop young speed skiers as well as offset operational and non-capital costs going forward and in turn will allow us to host world-class speed skiing events at Sun Peaks in perpetuity.”
The Education Society has been involved with the gala before and is appreciative of being part of it again.
“We’ve had so much support . . . The funds from the Firefighters’ Gala, and from all of our fundraising, have gone towards funding operating the centre, on-site teaching staff, insurance and things like on-mountain safety,” explains Maria Cannon, director with the SPES. “It’s really important for the society to continue to fundraise; it’s only the kindergarten through Grade 5 program that now is fully supported by School District 73, and our commitment is to provide education in the community for all grades, so we’re now funding that grade 6 to 12 program in partnership with @KOOL.”