Successful community projects often start as a simple idea, then the momentum builds and the project grows into something bigger.
Such was the case when L.V. Rogers Grade 12 students Micah May and Josh Matosevic wanted to help younger male students experience the benefits of doing community service projects.
Both are members of the LVR senior male leadership group. They are hoping younger guys will step up to take their places as they will soon be graduating.
May learned that Camp Koolaree, on the West Arm of Kootenay Lake, needed to rebuild a hiking trail to a waterfall so it would be safe for younger children. This seemed like a perfect two-day project for a group of 16 young guys.
Four funding organizations agreed and provided financial support: McCreary Centre Society, Osprey Community Foundation, RDCK Area E director Ramona Faust, and the LVR parent advisory council. Nelson Home Hardware Building Centre donated materials.
“For 85 years, Camp Koolaree volunteers have been the main workforce allowing the camp to provide opportunities for local youth to connect with creation, creator and community,” said Robyn Murray, a member of the Camp Koolaree board of directors. “This was a win-win opportunity for everybody and the Koolaree board is so grateful to everyone who helped make this a success.”
The guys needed adults to give their time to make the trip happen. May’s godfather, Leo Jansma, jumped on board to be the first aid person and chain saw operator. LVR teacher Claire Hewson stepped up as the school sponsor.
And the community response continued to grow.
May invited community mentors to join the group for dinner and a campfire at the camp. The purpose was to support the younger guys as they explore taking on leadership roles at LVR and getting more involved with the broader community.
The impressive cast of mentors included city councillor Michael Dailly, Rev. David Boyd of the Nelson United Church, entrepreneur Michael Hoher who is currently working with the Columbia Basin Trust, Dave Douglas of Nelson Rotary, psychologist Todd Kettner, and storyteller Ray Stothers.
“The mentors have made different life choices and taken on different types of leadership roles, but they all share a commitment to giving back to the community,” said May.
“It was great to hear their stories and what they have gained from their experiences.”
In the end, much more than a trail was built. May and Matosevic are hopeful the project helped build the next core group of LVR male leaders as well as partnerships with organizations and community mentors to support them.