Canoe fundraiser set to sail

With a few more participants ready to paddle down Rainy River for a good cause, the second-annual canoeing fundraiser for the local United Native Friendship Centre’s youth centre is set to go Monday.
“We actually had people call about it [since the article in last Thursday’s Daily Bulletin],” said co-organizer and UNFC youth worker R.J. Comeau.
“We have nine people, and are looking for one more to fill the fifth canoe.”
But more canoeists are welcome to take part in the fundraiser, which will wrap up next Thursday in Rainy River.
Comeau also noted the fundraising aspect is going well, with between $2,000-$2,500 pledged so far. But organizers still are hoping to meet their goal of $5,000—to beat last year’s total of $4,000—and will accept more contributions to the cause.
Comeau noted the suggested pledge is $1 per km, noting that translates into about $100 for the trip.
Half of the funds will go to the UNFC’s youth programming, like the Li’l Eagles and Urban Multipurpose Aboriginal Youth Centre (UMAYC) activities, while the other half is earmarked for the OPP’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program.
In the meantime, volunteers have been washing canoes and preparing for the journey downstream. And Comeau noted he’s ready to paddle the whole four-day trek once again.
“I’ve been working out—pumping the iron. Last year was pretty strenuous, so I’ve learned,” he quipped.
Comeau stressed everyone is welcome to come out to watch the expedition head off at 7 a.m. on Monday by the water tower.
“We’ll have family and a whole bunch of people ‘pushing us off,’ so to speak,” he remarked, adding the numbers already are a big improvement over last year’s “crowd” of one.
They are expected to arrive in Rainy River sometime around noon on Aug. 22. They will be escorted by a Couchiching First Nation Police marine unit the entire way.
Any participants or sponsors can get involved by contacting Comeau at 274-0561.