Retreat idea cracks top 10
Based on the voting numbers in the Aviva Community Fund competition, it looks like the “I Am Awesome! (And I Know It!)” self-esteem and empowerment retreat for young women will be one of the 30 finalists and still in the running to win up to $50,000.
Voting ended at 11 a.m. this morning and although the finalists won’t be officially announced for a few days, the local retreat garnered a whopping 9,155 votes to land in third place in its category.
A panel of judges now will determine the grand prize winners and dole out $1 million in funding.
“I think that it’s absolutely incredible that we were able to finish in the top 10,” enthused retreat director Renée Martin-Brown of Emo.
“I would like to thank everyone for their support and their commitment to voting,” she added.
The whole process began in September when Martin-Brown entered the retreat in the first of three qualifying rounds.
While it didn’t crack the top 10 that first time around, it placed first in its budget category in the second one.
“And [now] to be a top 10 finalist in the semi-finals, I really owe it all to the voters—I couldn’t have done it without their support,” she stressed.
“I’ve been telling them for the last 10 days that I have the best supporters ever and they’ve proven that.
“Our numbers continued to grow each day,” Martin-Brown added, saying the retreat garnered more than 1,200 votes on Monday.
“I’m truly humbled by the support of the community and the region,” she remarked.
The retreat, which aims to nurture positive self-esteem and confidence in young women aged 10-14, was held for the first time in September at Hanson’s Hideaway Lodge in Nestor Falls.
And Martin-Brown is passionate about this cause.
Receiving the $5,000 will help to bring in qualified educators, as well as offset the cost of having a social worker on site for the whole weekend—not just one afternoon.
If the retreat earns any additional funding from the Aviva Community Fund, it will be used to make it affordable to any girl who wants to attend.
“I’m grateful to the Aviva Competition for the opportunity to spread awareness about the retreat through the district and throughout Canada, being that this is a nation-wide competition,” Martin-Brown said.
“People have a greater understanding of what the ‘I Am Awesome! (And I Know It!)’ retreat is all about.”
The winners will be announced Jan. 28.