YMCA of Eastern Ontario launches 100 km fundraiser

The YMCA located on Wright Crescent in Kingston. Photo by Lucas Mulder.

The YMCA of Eastern Ontario plans to launch a 100 km Walk, Run & Roll Challenge fundraiser running Saturday, Jul. 18 to Friday, Jul. 31, 2020. According to Colleen Gareau, Director of Marketing and Communications, the event will “support the mission of the YMCA in building healthier communities.”

Both a charity and Canada’s largest provider of childcare, the YMCA has lost access to significant revenue streams under provincial emergency restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to daycares, camps and recreational programs, the Y operates recreational facilities such as gyms, fitness studios and pools, forced to shutter mid-March.

“Throughout the COVID-19 closures, we have been transparent in our decision-making and in the realities faced by us and charities in general,” said Rob Adams, CEO for the YMCA of Eastern Ontario, in a statement released Tuesday, Jun. 9, 2020. “We have to continually evaluate the cost of our operations to ensure that we remain a community asset into the future. In the new reality, we must find a sustainable financial model.”

The province announced in early June that both child care facilities and pools could resume operation on Friday, Jun. 12, 2020, with limits on the number of children and adults in a given space. However, Adams statement indicated that the Y’s pool reopening would be delayed.

“Until we know the full impact of all of the operational guidelines from the province and public health units, we are unable to specify a date for re-opening, however, it is possible that some Y services will be running before September,” Adams said.

The YMCA of Eastern Ontario provided an update on Thursday, June 17, 2020, saying that preparations to re-open were underway. The date provincial restrictions end, as well as the public health requirements involved, are not yet public.

In regards to child care, a statement to parents late last week indicated a prospective reopening date of Monday, July 6, at between 35 and 50 per cent of their regular capacity.

Adams has also stated that while “traditional” summer camps will not be running, “we are working on scenarios for day care and summer care now, and hope to have news for you soon on both these fronts.”

Adams said he hopes the Walk, Run & Roll Challenge will allow participants to have fun while doing good, raising money to support some of the most vulnerable people in the community.

“We know that due to the pandemic, more people than ever will need assistance to access healthy programs and services,” he said. “We hope people will rally behind this fundraiser to help us provide that assistance.”

Participants can walk, run, wheelchair, bike, roller blade – however they like to be physically active – to complete one of five challenges over two weeks.

The 100 km distance is the main event and is symbolic of the distance between Brockville and Kingston YMCA facilities. There are four distances set at 25, 50 and 100 km, as well as a Super 200 km Bike Challenge, which represents a “round-way trip” between both Y facilities. Groups can also participate in “relays,” adding distances travelled by group members toward their goal. The cost to register is $20.

“We know that this year, many people are missing their annual marathons and other competitions, so we created the 100 km Walk, Run & Roll Challenge as an inclusive competition for all abilities,” Adams said.

Those who complete the challenge get bragging rights and a certificate, and fundraisers compete for medals and a top-fundraiser prize. The first 100 registrants also receive a challenge t-shirt. There is a special swag bag for kids.

To find out more about the YMCA of Eastern Ontario’s 100 km Walk, Run & Roll Challenge and to register visit the website here.

About the YMCA of Eastern Ontario

The YMCA of Eastern Ontario is a charity that provides programs and services to improve health and health outcomes, develops leaders, helps build social connections and provide safe, inclusive spaces for people of all ages. The Y is Canada’s largest provider of childcare with trademarked curricula, and offers fitness and other programs including SCUBA, Karate and Total Life Care – specialized programming for individuals with chronic conditions.

Samantha Butler-Hassan, Local Journalism Initiative

Samantha Butler-Hassan is a staff writer and life-long Kingston resident. She is a news junkie and mom who loves reading and exploring the community. This article has been made possible with the support of the Local Journalism Initiative.

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