CROSS-COUNTRY NAVIGATION  An orienteer checks in at a control flag during the 2010 North American Orienteering Championships held near Cranbrook. Photo by Larry Rozak

CROSS-COUNTRY NAVIGATION An orienteer checks in at a control flag during the 2010 North American Orienteering Championships held near Cranbrook. Photo by Larry Rozak

By Stephanie Stevens

Summit Youth Centre

How do you celebrate your 20th anniversary?

Well, if you are the Windermere Valley Youth Centre Society (WVYCS), you hold a fantastic fun fundraiser fiesta at the Winderberry greenhouse!

The WVYCS oversees the Summit Youth Centre (SYC) in Invermere, which is open to all youth ages 12 to 18. To mark the anniversary occasion, as well as generate some always neededed funds, the board is bringing back An Evening With on Saturday, August 30th a gala event featuring speaker Ash Beckham including an auction and lots of tasty food by a variety of valley chefs.

We used to do a formal sit-down dinner with a dress-to-the-nines theme, but this year we are going for a more laid-back feel, said board member Stephanie Stevens, who is one of the organizers. We had originally scheduled the gala for May, but a lot of little things coalesced and we had to postpone.

Honourary chair Brett Wilson has been an avid supporter of the SYC for several years.

The Summit has been doing wonderful work in the valley for a long time, said Mr. Wilson. I am very pleased to see them still going strong, and I am proud they asked me to be honourary chair.

Mr. Wilson has never balked at offering his support to the youth centre either when it has been requested, or when it has been of his own volition.

His regard for The Summit was evident when he made the youth centre the recipient of his then-companys former FirstSplash for multiple years.

We rarely held it for the same charity twice as there are so many worthy causes out there, but the Summit truly resonated with us, he said.

The new venue will provide a more laid-back, fun atmosphere and allow attendees to mix and mingle far more readily than at a seated event.

Ms. Beckham is heading up from Colorado to speak about the importance of youth centres with a blend of humour and personal anecdotes.

I feel so lucky that I can help people spread their message, she said. Even when you have a good home life, having that safe space you can go to is so vital and it is so important to support groups who are creating that space.

Several former SYC members offered their thoughts on what the youth centre meant to them as they were growing up and the sentiment expressed over and over was that it was like family.

You have your given family, and then you have your chosen family, said Ms. Beckham. It is really critical to create that environment (for youth) and I am really happy to align myself with this.

WVYCS president Sherry Doerr is hoping for a full house for the event and said the variety of items donated for the auction has really touched her.

We have a lot of wonderful donations from local business, and everything from catered dinners to a moonlight cruise, a lunch for four from Brett Wilson prepared by him at his beach house and including gifts for the winning bidders, a bike tour from Paralympic bike champion Jaye Milley, an adrenaline package thanks to Olympic bobsledder Jesse Lumsden and Winsport (zip-lining followed by bobsledding), jewelry, art and just so many other amazing items, she said.

It is going to be a really fun night so get your tickets soon.

Tickets, $40, can be purchased from Selkirk Cellulars & Office Supplies in Invermere, or by contacting Ms. Doerr at 250-688-0553, Ms. Stevens at 250-688-0059 or Kelsey Prichard, the new SYC program co-ordinator, at 250-342-3033.

You just cant go wrong when you reach out and support our youth, said Ms. Doerr. I truly believe that.