Social media campaign to send kids to camp hits P.A.

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Matt Gardner
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BOATsmart! social media and PR lead Tashonna McDougall and team lead Brendan O’Connor engage in a bit of levity outside Canadian Tire on Sunday during the Prince Albert stop of their coast-to-coast tour to promote an ongoing social media campaign to send disadvantaged kids to camp. BOATsmart! has pledged to donate one dollar every time the hashtag #BoatSmartMoment is shared on Instagram or Twitter.

A coast-to-coast tour promoting a social media campaign to send disadvantaged kids to camp hit Prince Albert on Sunday.

One of Canada’s largest boat safety organizations, BOATsmart! is currently in the midst of a summer-long effort to promote its #BoatSmartMoment campaign, in which the organization has pledged to donate one dollar to send kids across Canada to camp every someone shares the hashtag #BoatSmartMoment.

All day on Sunday, BOATsmart! social media and PR lead Tashonna McDougall and team lead Brendan O’Conner could be seen outside the local Canadian Tire spreading awareness about the campaign.

“We’re going across Canada to celebrate BOATsmart’s 10th anniversary and we’re stopping off at all these different places,” McDougall said.

“We’re challenging every city that we’re going to, and even ones that we don’t stop off in, to share their BOATsmart! moments -- so anything to do with boating or their favourite cottaging or on-the-water moments.”

BOATsmart! has set a goal of raising $10,000 to send children across Canada to four different camps, which include a Tim Horton’s camp as well as Camp Goodtimes (a summer recreation program aimed at children and teens with cancer and their families).

“It’s just 10,000 tweets or Instagram photos that go out, which isn’t hard because people are already on the water and there are 15 million boaters in Canada,” McDougall said.

The ongoing tour began in St. John’s, N.L. in the first week of June and will continue until Aug. 24, when it ends the journey in Tofino, B.C.

Cities selected along the way were chosen based on the size of the city and/or the community’s interest in boating.

We’re challenging every city that we’re going to, and even ones that we don’t stop off in, to share their BOATsmart! moments -- so anything to do with boating or their favourite cottaging or on-the-water moments. Tashonna McDougall

The large number of lakes around the Prince Albert area made it an obvious choice for a tour stop.

“We keep hearing about Waskesiu,” McDougall said. “We want to go up there and see what it’s all about … and we have so many provincial parks. There’s Emma (Lake) Provincial Park around here.

“So there’s a lot of boaters here and so that’s why we’re challenging Prince Albert especially to post their moments.”

Given Prince Albert’s population size, she added, the campaign could reach its goal if just one in every three residents shared the #BoatSmartMoment hashtag.

McDougall stressed that anyone could take part in the social media campaign, regardless of where they live. They are also free to make multiple posts with the hashtag, since that simply means BOATsmart! will make more donations.

Those interested in tracking the progress of the campaign in reaching its goal can visit www.boatsmartexam.com/moments for the most up-to-date information.

“We’re uploading all the photos and everything … People can go on there and see the moments that they post, too,” McDougall said.

“So it’s kind of cool, because all across Canada, it makes a collage of what a Canadian summer is like … with boating and cottaging and things like that.”

Organizations: Canadian Tire, Prince Albert

Geographic location: Canada, Tofino, Waskesiu

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