Sun Peaks’ mayor, Al Raine has always maintained that to be a great resort, we must be a great community. There are many facets to being a great community; key amongst them is a willingness to support each other through good times and bad. Last month, Raine, the municipal councillors and several local businesses demonstrated their community spirit by giving to local charities that need support, now more than ever.
Reiner Brecht, owner of Bear Country Property Management, donated $5,000 to the Sun Peaks Education Society (SPES). Although he has no children enrolled in the mountainside school, Brecht’s motivation to support the SPES came from close to home.
“I have a sweetheart girl who is my next door neighbour, so needless to say, she’s influenced me to think with my heart,” he explains.
Brecht decided this year, “Rather than going on a big spending spree for Christmas gifts I’d do something that helped the community’s school.”
Barb Kupferschmidt Linder, president of the SPES, is delighted and surprised at the size of Brecht’s donation.
“We understood Bear Country was donating a smaller amount,” she says. “$5,000 was a big surprise.”
The Discovery Centre for Balanced Education is in its second year, providing a unique, mountainside educational experience for local elementary school children.
“I think it’s great for young families to live up here and have their children go to school in this community,” says Reiner. “With two new buildings in two years, there’s always a need for extra funding and I thought, maybe I can help out with that.”
Sonia Donaldson, owner of Sun Peaks Spa, thought much the same when she was considering a way to provide training and hours for her new staff.
“I just recognized that it’s really hard for parents who live in Sun Peaks to survive up here with seasonal work. I think parents need a helping hand and it worked out for everybody,” remarks Donaldson.
Donaldson stirred up plenty of interest and raised almost $1,400 to be split between the Sun Peaks Alpine Club and the SPES by promoting a one hour hot stone massage treatment.
“We have some staff who’ve come from overseas and when they get here, they needed to work,” says Donaldson. “I thought it’d be a great way to teach them some new techniques. As a former athlete, I knew the Alpine Club didn’t have a lot of money and they need support.”
Sotheby’s Sun Peaks’ office also raised funds for the SPES in December by holding an art draw benefit featuring the work of many local artists. Donations and sponsorships of artists raised over $1,400 for the SPES.
Since Sun Peaks became the first Mountain Resort Municipality in July 2010, the mayor and councillors have donated most of their honorariums to the SPES. 2011 was no different, with members of council donating the municipal stipend to the learning centre. Additionally, Nancy Greene Raine has committed $5,000 which will be matched by Telus’ charitable giving fund.
“(The school) needs to be well funded,” says Mayor Al Raine. “My goal is we’re not asking parents to pay for this, it’s not a private school and I really want to support that, and so does Nancy.”
Linder is delighted with the support that the community has shown the Discovery Centre, and reiterates that although the monetary donations are vital, community members and businesses have been donating time and skills that are essential too.
Parents, community members and the SPES board of directors work tirelessly each year to raise the funds necessary to run the Discovery Centre for Balanced Education. This year their objective is more than $100,000 to meet the centre’s operating costs, and the end of the year support from the community goes a long way toward achieving that goal.