With an impressive track record spanning two decades, the dedicated committee behind the Boogie the Bridge fundraising event has managed to raise $95,000 for the Boogie the Bridge Cultural Fund, administered by the BC Interior Community Foundation. This exceptional achievement makes a tangible impact as the fund was established to help support, develop and nurture creative growth for Kamloops children and youth by offering grants to help cover the cost of cultural programs, events and workshops.
Boogie the Bridge is an annual running event that takes place in Kamloops. Every year more than 2,000 people of all ages, genders and ethnicities gather at MacArthur Park and make their way across the bridge to Riverside Park.
“Dancing across the bridge, while thinking you’re not exercising”, that’s how Jo Berry, the founder of Boogie the Bridge, explained the meaning behind the name of the event. Back in 1998, Jo Berry, along with Carol Gillis, Nina Reimer, Dawn King and Tracy Smith initiated what was then an all-women’s gathering, drawing 62 enthusiastic participants. Little did they know that their humble beginnings would pave the way for one of Kamloops’ largest and most anticipated events.
Not only does the event help the community with physical health, but it also gives back. In 2022, the Boogie the Bridge Cultural Fund gave out more than $8,000 in grants to young individuals eager to explore music, theatre, dance and arts.
Covid-19 had a huge hit on the event, however, people still participated online. 2022 was an extremely important year for the Boogie team, it was the first year that the event came back to the streets of Kamloops. It exceeded all expectations and 2,256 people ran in McDonald Park on the North Shore.
“It was important to raise the awareness of physical and mental health after the pandemic. We were so happy to see everyone there. The participants were happy to feel and be part of the society again,” said Berry. The founders mentioned that running and physical activity was extremely important during and after coronavirus.
Something that started off as a project for Berry’s social work has grown into one of the biggest fundraising movements in Kamloops. This remarkable initiative has not only assisted numerous children in pursuing their dreams, which were once financially out of reach, but it has also empowered countless individuals to embrace a healthier lifestyle.
Our Community Project Grant program helps regional residents of any age, experience, or background take part in building community. This fall we awarded grant funding to the Kamloops Immigrant Services Society for their tutoring and mentoring program. This program provides newcomer students with access to academic support and a mentor. This program strives to help students experience academic progress in school and ease their transition into the Canadian school system and their new community.
Here’s what the Kamloops-Cariboo Regional Immigrant Society had to say about themselves and how this program helped participants in our region:
Kamloops-Cariboo Regional Immigrant Society has been offering tutoring services to school-age children and youth since October 2020 with the financial assistance of Canada Emergency Community Support Fund flowing through the United Way. The agency collaborated with teachers in School District 73 to provide newcomer immigrant students with the necessary support as they transition into their new community. Through this, the agency was able to work with qualified educators to provide newcomer students with academic support and the individualized attention required to promote academic achievements. Last year, the agency expanded the tutoring program by including mentoring sessions for newcomer students. The mentoring sessions provided students with tools for self-care, essential life skills and strategies to navigate various challenges associated with transitioning into a new community. Following are stories from the agency’s mentoring and tutoring program offered to newcomer students. These mentoring and tutoring sessions provided newcomer students with an opportunity to form meaningful relationships and learn different skills as they transition into a new community.
Mentoring- Helping Students Achieve their Goals:
Through the mentoring and tutoring program, graduating students were able to connect with mentors who are in a field of work in which they are interested in. For example, the program worked with a grade 12 student who wants to be in the trades program. However, this student was deferred by the program due to his language skills. This caused him and his family a great deal of disappointment and frustration. Through the mentoring and tutoring program, the student worked with a tutor to improve his language skills. Eventually, the student was able to connect with a mentor who works in trades. This student visits his mentor once a week and connects over activities in trades. This gave the student a strong start and increased his confidence for the trades program.
Collaboration with Thompson Rivers University:
Building Resilience in Newcomer Students by Integrating Social-Emotional Learning Strategies into the Science Curriculum through Experiential Learning and Storytelling Newcomer students are susceptible to isolation due to socio-economic, language, cultural barriers and challenges associated with immigration such as grief and loss of leaving their families behind. Education is an important factor for newcomer families to break the cycle of poverty and thrive in their new communities. However, the ability for newcomer students to experience meaningful learning and achieve graduation is often hindered by numerous trauma and barriers associated with immigration. With several researchers demonstrating the psychophysical healing effects of the natural environment, the mentoring and tutoring program integrated social-emotional learning strategies into the science curriculum by conducting experiential learning in the outdoor setting for newcomer students. Newcomer students were mentored by university students in the science program where they complete a monthly science challenge in nature. Through each monthly challenge, students will be exposed to a new scientific concept, social emotional learning strategy and indigenous story associated with the land. Students’ learning gains are demonstrated by their school attendance, well-being and enthusiasm for environmental conservation.
Tutoring and Conversation Circles in Schools:
Through the agency’s partnership with English Language Learner teachers in School District 73, a mentor from Kamloops Immigrant Services was able to participate in weekly conversation circles with English language learner students across School District 73. Students were given a copy of Big Life Journal for reflection. During each session, students were able to explore different strategies for Social-Emotional wellbeing while having meaningful conversations that support their transition.
Last year, our students participated in a Kindness Project Workshop. In this group mentoring workshop, students practiced different strategies for self-care while giving back to the community. During the sessions, our students crafted and donated 100 toys to the SPCA for pets that have been evacuated due to the wildfire. Participants also created 24 care packages for individuals in need and raised money for charity via a lemonade stand. This year, our students will be creating more care packages for individuals in need. These care packages will be given to PITSTOP at the end of spring. Students will also be crafting a card with kind messages for individuals accessing services at Pit Stop.
Pen Pal Program:
The agency collaborated with Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society on a Pen Pal program last year. Students will continue writing to their pen pal starting in May this year. The pen pal program is a platform for peer-based and self-directed learning among newcomer and Canadian students in the community. The program will directly impact education within the community by building positive connections, raising students’ wellness, academic performance at school, joy of learning, and confidence while transitioning into the Canadian school system.
Throughout the year, students participating in the MET program demonstrated more confidence which led to consistent attendance in school. Students also experienced academic progress in school with the average grades of each student taking part in the program increasing over the previous school year.
Did you know this fall we are supporting 6 projects in our Thompson-Nicola & South Cariboo region?
Here’s the projects and programs we’re helping out this season!
$1500 for the Kamloops Community Volunteer Services Society(Volunteer Kamloops)’s Project – 2022 Timeraiser Event (October 29, 2022). This funding, which comes from the Smart & Caring Fund, will assist with venue rental and promotion of the event. “This event is part volunteer fair, part silent art auction and part night on the town. Throughout the evening, people meet with different agencies and match skills to their needs. The attendees then bid on the artwork on display. The big twist is rather than bid money, participants bid volunteer hours. Participants never know the monetary value of the art piece they are bidding, but rather contribute what they feel their time is worth. This benefits multiple charitable organizations in our community, looking for connections with individuals wanting to give back to their community and artists benefit by sales of their work as well as exposure in the community. Approximately 10-20 non-profit groups benefit from the volunteer connections they make at this event, and approximately 20 art pieces are purchased, live performers are hired and we stimulate the local economy with space rental and catering.”
$1500 for the BC Wildlife Park‘s Project – Innovative Education: Creating Barrier-Free Conservation Programming (November 1, 2021 – October 31, 2022). This funding, which comes from the Carolyn Scarborough Memorial Fund, will assist with the purchase of a laptop computer. “The addition of this new laptop will greatly assist us in the creation and presentation of additional wildlife conservation programming allowing our educators to present barrier-free lessons. The laptop will allow our education department the tools needed for the expansion and further development of our in-house and virtual classroom programming as well as online videos and educational content. It will enrich the classroom and social media experiences and help us to continue our work of encouraging the appreciation of and respect for BC’s wildlife and to assist in preserving biodiversity through education.”
$1000 for Hope Air‘s Project – Medical Travel and Accommodation – Kamloops & Area (November 1, 2021 – October 31, 2022). This funding, which comes from the Advocis Fund, will assist with the cost of medical travel flights for patients within the BCICF catchment area. “Hope Air is a national charity that focuses on addressing equal access to medical care. For many people who live far from major urban centres, distance is a significant barrier to access to medical care. By providing medical travel for low-income patients, we put hope within reach for the people we assist, especially during challenging times. Hope Air serves patients of all ages and with all medical conditions, and our services are always free to patients. Our only criteria are that patients have low incomes and are accessing medical care that their provincial healthcare coverage will pay for.”
$1500 for the Kamloops Film Society‘s Project – 2022 Kamloops Film Festival (March 3 – 12, 2022). This funding, which comes from the Smart & Caring Fund, will assist with advertising & community relations. “The Kamloops Film Festival (KFF) returns March 3 to 12 for its 25th anniversary. After a reimagined festival in 2021, taking place online and at the Twin Rivers Drive-In, we are excited to return to in-person screenings and events, within the health restrictions and guidelines of the new year. For a quarter of a century, the KFF has been an inclusive and broad event in the cultural landscape of Kamloops, hosting an audience of over 5,000 and demonstrating a lasting and meaningful impact in the community.”
$1500 for the Kamloops International Buskers Festival Society‘s Project – Kamloops International Buskers Festival (July 21 – 24, 2022). This funding, which comes from the Smart & Caring Fund, will assist with the staging and equipment for the festival. “The objective of the Kamloops International Buskers Festival is to bring free, live performing arts programming to the Interior of BC. It is not often that performances of this quality and calibre are provided free of charge in an outdoor festival setting. We want to create an event that our local and surrounding communities can take ownership of and participate in, creating a sense of community and inclusiveness. We want our local performers to have the opportunity to showcase their talents, and gain the confidence to advance and improve their skills. It is also important to us that we are providing artists with paid work, and compensating them fairly.”
$1500 for the Kamloops Arts Council’s Project – Art Exposed (March 3 – 12, 2022). This funding, which comes from the Smart & Caring Fund, will assist with rental and promotion for the 2022 Art Exposed
Exhibition. “Artists of all skill levels and ages are called to submit 2D and/or 3D works to be displayed for an exhibit. Set in all available spaces of the Old Courthouse, we can expect to find paintings, drawings, sculpture, jewellery, pottery, photography, and more. This is the only kind of exhibit in the region, and provides an attainable, equal-opportunity, professional experience. Spectators can contemplate how up to 200 unique pieces play a part in the community landscape. A team of three jurors will also give feedback and awards to artists based on seven different categories. Open to all residents of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, Art Exposed showcases the community first by committing to an accessible, collaborative, and constructive exhibit.”
Did you know this spring we are supporting 8 projects in our Thompson-Nicola & South Cariboo region?
Here’s the projects and programs we’re helping out this season!
$1600 for the Kamloops Community YMCA-YWCA’s Project – Mind Outside – youth-at-risk program. An 8-week pilot project to serve 24 at-risk youth July 6 – Sept 30, 2021. The funding, which comes from the Brandon Gives Back Fund, will help to support transportation & kayak rentals.
$1500 for the Kamloops Music Collective‘s Project – One Big World: to bring a new genre of music to our city. Fostering collaboration among young musicians Oct 10, 2021. The funding, which comes from The Music Fund (Pamela Hughes Memorial Fund), will help to support the purchase of a set of custom marimbas and a set of global auxiliary percussion instruments.
$1500 for the Kamloops-Cariboo Regional Immigrants Society‘s Project – The Kamloops Immigrant Services’ Mentoring and Tutoring Program for the Empowerment of Newcomer Children and Youths, which helps with tutoring and mentoring for new immigrants in our region that are transition into the Canadian school system from Sept 7/21 – June 30/22. The funding, which comes from the Noble Endeavours Fund, will help to assist with the tutoring and mentoring program.
$1500 for the Merritt Dance Society in partnership with Nicola Valley Community Arts Council for their collaborative project – Performance of Coppelia with Covid protocols in place; performance on June 11 & 12, 2021. The funding, which comes from the Peter G. Botta Memorial Fund, will help to assist with the production of their rendition of Coppelia.
$1500 for the Western Canada Theatre‘s Project – Adaptation in Artistic Practices – a necessary transition to digital/virtual programming due to Covid 19 for the 2021 season May 11 – Nov 27, 2021. This funding, which comes from the Smart & Caring Fund, will assist with the purchase of a laptop for their digital virtual programming.
$1500 for the Zajac Ranch for Children‘s Program – camp for children with disabilities or serious medical conditions from May 22 – Aug 30, 2021. The funding, which comes from the Smart & Caring Fund, will support camper accommodation for participants from the BC Interior region.
BC Wildlife Park Marketing & Events Manager Julie Ratcliffe, BCICF Executive Director Rob Miller, & BC Wildlife Park Animal Care Supervisor Tracy Reynolds
BCICF Executive Director Rob Miller was thrilled to visit the BC Wildlife Park & present them with their Community Project Grant Funding to assist in the purchase of a portable x-ray machine for their animal rehabilitation centre. We hope this helps make a difference for all the wildlife in their care! Funding for this grant came from the Carolyn Scarborough Memorial Fund.