Bears on the Beach close to reaching fundraising goal

Jodi Schellenberg
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The Waskesiu Foundation has only been raising money for about seven months, but they have almost reached their goal.

The Bears on the Beach campaign has almost reached its $295,000 goal to build a new play structure centred around the bear climbing rock at Waskesiu.

Bears on the Beach, a fundraising project to add a play structure on the beach at Waskesiu, has only $10,000 left to raise to reach $295,000.

“That’s the original amount for the playground design we presented to the community,” said Jim Kerby of The Waskesiu Foundation.

The community support so far has been “tremendous,” Kerby said. Not only have many businesses stepped up to help, children in the community have been putting on their own fundraisers, whether it be selling lemonade or collecting golf balls.

The fundraising efforts aren’t finished yet -- on Saturday there will be a Teddy Bear Picnic at the future play structure site from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Anyone can join in the fun, which will have many games and activities including decorating cupcakes in a bear theme.

“It is a picnic and there will be (teddy) bears for sale that we are selling that the proceeds go towards the playground project,” Kerby said.

Teddy bears will also be available at the Hawood Inn anytime for those who may not be able to make it to the picnic.

There will also be the Fun Run planned for Sept. 27, supported by Outter Limits.

“Half of the proceeds of the fun run this year are going to go towards Bears on the Beach,” Kerby said. 

The Bears on the Beach theme came from the existing play structure on the beach.

“There are two centre piece parts to it that are more highly visible for the kids,” Kerby said. “One of them is a full-sized mother bear and the two cubs that kids will be able to climb on and get their photos taken on.

“The other is an 18-foot high tree -- it looks like a cut off tree stump -- it is two levels and kids can climb up inside that,” he added. “It is all connected with climbing structures and all sorts of things. It is going to be a high play value facility.”

Fundraising for the play structure started in late December and their goal was to raise all the funds by August.

“That thankfully has worked out exactly as we had hoped and planned,” he said. “Our hope through that -- and it is looking like it will be becoming a reality -- is that we could start the ground work in September and let (everything) get properly cured over the winter and be ready to go so by July 1, 2015 there will be a brad new playground in Waskesiu.”

He is proud of the charity and community for their dedication to getting a new play structure.

“Whenever your charity takes on something, you hope it is something the community wants and when you see people responding the way they have, it is very heartening to see the community come together like this and respond the way they have,” Kerby said.

Although they only have $10,000 to reach the original goal, Kerby said he would like to see people continue to support the project.

“If we go over the target of $295,000, we have already identified three add-ons to the playground that will enhance it, including a saucer swing and a crawl-through log that are all in the same theme and will make it better than the one you see on the diagram on our website,” he said. “We really are encouraging people to not stop just because we are almost there.

“We would like to go over. If we can get about $15,000 over our original target then we will be adding these additional features to the playground, so it will be better.”

Organizations: The Waskesiu Foundation, Hawood Inn

Geographic location: Waskesiu

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