Project Canoe has served more than 4000 youth since it was founded 42 years ago. They offer educational and therapeutic outdoor experiences, including wilderness canoe trips, with the intention of providing transformative environments in which youth have the opportunity to develop life skills, social competencies, and resilience.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
We offer educational and therapeutic outdoor experiences, including wilderness canoe trips, with the intention of providing transformative environments in which youth have the opportunity to develop life skills, social competencies, and resilience. Together, these changes help build a foundation for their own personal success. We focus on youth facing mental health and systemic barriers in their lives.
What problem does it aim to solve?
Youth are frequently restricted access from wilderness experiences due to economic and behavioural barriers. These formative Canadian experiences shape people into the people they are as adults. We believe that everyone deserves the experience regardless of the barriers they face.
When did you start/join it?
Tim Richardson joined the organization in 2015 as the Executive Director. Before that Tim was a volunteer with the agency.
What made you want to get involved?
My first canoe trip made me the person I am today, and I have seen first-hand the transformative impact of Project Canoe’s programs! It is just amazing how much of a difference even a short canoe trip can make to someone who has never been outside of the GTA. The youth, their parents and guardians frequently call us months, years and even decades after their experience to tell us how impactful it was on their life.
What was the situation like when you started? How has it changed since?
Project Canoe has served more than 4000 youth since it was founded 42 years ago. Each year we work extremely hard to deepen our impact on youth and serve more youth who are unable to participate in other programs. We have an intensive 4-week staff training period, a thorough intake process to match youth participants, and an industry-leading ratio of 1 staff for every 2 youth.
What more needs to be done?
Our program continually leave a substantial waitlist. Each year we strive to expand our program to serve more youth that would have their life changed by this experience. By gaining more donors we hope to expand the program and find innovative ways to help youth discover their potential. The Scotiabank Charity Challenge is an important fundraising program for us. The program provides a simple and effective way to support local causes, like Project Canoe, that make a big difference in people’s lives.
How can our readers help?
Visit canoe.org to learn more about Project Canoe, and click the banner at the top to donate to our upcoming portage through Toronto in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge!
Do you have any events coming up?
We did a portage with a canoe through the streets of Toronto as part of the Scotiabank Charity Challenge at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon! We wanted to bring the canoe trip experience to the city, while enabling 15 additional youth to go on trip next summer in the process.
Where can we follow you?
We’d love you to join us on our journey. Sign up for our newsletter at canoe.org, follow us on Instagram @projectcanoe or find us on Facebook!