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Four organizations receive funding for outdoor programming

“Our communities face unique challenges when it comes to affordability and access to programs that foster positive mental and physical wellness. Financial assistance for programs like these provide healthy experiences and help promote positive outcomes at the community level.”
Banff Townsite from Tunnel Mountain2
The view of the Banff townsite from Tunnel Mountain. GREG COLGAN RMO PHOTO

BOW VALLEY – Four Bow Valley organizations will get a combined $175,000 from the Wim and Nancy Pauw Foundation.

The Banff-based foundation announced Take Me Outside, Ecole Notre Dame des Monts, Nakoda Elementary School and Spirit North will have funding to help with programs that support wellness, outdoor pursuits and outdoor and land-based learning. The aim is to ensure financial barriers don’t preclude people from participating.

“The Wim and Nancy Pauw Foundation is about building a more vibrant, active and healthy community,” said Cathy Geisler, the executive director of the foundation, in a media release. “We are thrilled to support these programs that break down barriers, enrich learning opportunities and bring communities together, all in the great outdoors.”

Each of the four recipients will have its own unique programming, but focus on helping to promote an active outdoor life that aids in mental and physical wellness.

Spirit North will get $70,000 to help fund its growth, eliminate financial barriers and assist development in a new youth leadership pilot program for young adults from Îyârhe Nakoda (Stoney Nakoda) Nation.

“This funding will provide youth the opportunity to participate and feel a sense of belonging and connection to other youth, community members, and to the entire Bow Valley through sport,” said Ken Beatty, the chief operating officer for Spirit North.

Take Me Outside, a non-profit that raises awareness for a connection to nature and outdoor learning, will receive $50,000 to assist with its programming. The money will be used to help with outdoor learning programs.

The Nakoda Elementary School will receive $40,000 for its wild program, which has Grade 4 students spend each afternoon outside in an outdoor learning space. The program focuses on land-based, inter-generational learning opportunities, with a portion of the donation going to a transportation solution to help community elders travel to the outdoor classroom despite any inclement weather.

“These programs strengthen communities, build positive relationships and help students thrive. We’re overjoyed to have the financial support to grow this program in Mini’Thni,” said Emily Parkin, an Nakoda Elementary School teacher.

Canmore’s École Notre-Dame des Monts will accept $15,000, which will help expand the outdoor pursuits and wellness program that supports enhanced physical learning at a minimal cost to families.

“Our communities face unique challenges when it comes to affordability and access to programs that foster positive mental and physical wellness,” said Geisler. “Financial assistance for programs like these provide healthy experiences and help promote positive outcomes at the community level.”