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Jasmine Brushett, Mitchell Carey, Kendall Kerr, and Brittney Shermetta hold the Big Chill sign that will be displayed at the bottom of the Twin Oaks ski hill Feb. 18 during the Big Chill, a fundraiser through Give to Live, a national foundation. Brittney participated last year and Jasmine will snowshoe 15 kilometres this year. Mitchell and Kendall will help out on the course. Funds raised go to help youth at risk in Nova Scotia.
LAWRENCETOWN - When Jasmine Brushett dons her snowshoes Feb. 18, she’ll be trekking 15 kilometres with a vertical climb of 550 feet.
It’s a challenge, but that’s what she’s there for.
She’ll be snowshoeing for her school, Lawrencetown Education Centre, in the second annual Big Chill, a Give To Live fundraiser at the old Twin Oaks ski hill just north of Middleton. Funds raised from this non-profit go toward youth at risk in Nova Scotia and particularly targeting students at LEC.
Jasmine doesn’t call herself an expert, but she’s done the school’s Snowshoe Challenge 5-K route before and she’s been training and fundraising a lot for the Big Chill, an event that attracts athletes from across the province.
“I think it’s going to be hard and I think it’s going to be fun,” she said. “At the end of it I’ll feel really good about myself and feel really good that I raised all that money for the school.”
Brittney Shermetta did the course at last year’s Big Chill.
“It was difficult, and cold,” she said. “And it was fun, honestly. It was a lot of fun. There was no snow last year so we just hiked it.”
Brittney did the full loop, but this year it’s not looking so good. She had surgery recently so she’s not sure if she’s up to entering again.
“If I’m feeling up to it I would like to participate in it again. Do the 5-K maybe to start off with.”
Give to Live
Lawrencetown Education Centre principal Jamie Peppard said Give to Live is a national foundation that also does the Big Swim from New Brunswick to PEI, and the Big Ride which is the big bike ride around Cape Breton.
“So they were looking for a winter event so they took on our Snowshoe Challenge and with the help of our students groomed it into their winter event to raise money for what they consider worthy causes,” Peppard said.
He said the course has been improved from last year and that there are three different distances athletes can register for – the 5-K, 15-K, and 30-K.
“The course itself is going to have two verticals of over 550 feet and it’s going to have some fantastic views both east and west in the Annapolis Valley from up on the North Mountain,” Peppard said. “This course has been a work in progress for probably seven or eight years now and every year it gets better and better.”
He said students have been up their on the weekends helping out cutting trails, flagging it, and creating signs for it in the school’s workshop.
“I really think anyone that gets out on the course is going to be pretty impressed with the work they’ve done,” he said.
At the end of it I’ll feel really good about myself and feel really good that I raised all that money for the school. Jasmine Brushett
Two of the LEC students who’ve been helping out preparing the course are Mitchell Carey and Kendall Kerr. And they’ll be on the hill Feb. 18 making sure everything runs smoothly.
“As of late we’ve been getting out on the course, cleaning it all up, making sure all the brush is out of the way,” said Mitchell. “Then once the actual event comes around we get out on the course, we have stations, and we have walkie-talkies and we’re just basically a check-up, like if anybody’s feeling fatigue or needs water or anything like that we have that there.”
He said he and Kendall will also have blankets to keep competitors warm if they need to warm up.
“The walkie-talkie -- we basically radio down to the tipi if anybody feels they need any medical attention, Mitchell said. “Then we’ve got the snowmobiles and the four-wheelers that will come pick them up and take them down. We’re just there as support.”
Kendall said he’s looking forward to the event.
“I love the snow, I love being outdoors especially in the woods, seeing all these people come down from everywhere, really, to participate in this,” he said.
“People who want to become involved in the event sign up on the Give To Live Canada Helps website,” Peppard said. “Once they’re registered they go around and find people that will support them for the distance they choose to snowshoe. Once they get to a certain level they’re considered an active participant in that particular distance.”
Peppard said money goes into the Middleton Rotary Club, the schools non-profit community partner and it gets funneled to Peppard’s program and the school distributes the funds. Scotiabank is another partner.
Money raised last year, about $28,000, bought LEC a fridge and stove, and some basics for the school that they don’t have funds for.
Students at LEC come from both Kings and Annapolis counties.
“I think LEC represents an opportunity for kids that maybe in the past haven’t had a chance to put their best foot forward in academics, in community service, in the physical side of things,” said Peppard. “By being able to put that best foot forward and have that recognized they’re one step closer to making a smooth transition into society and being really productive.”
“If it wasn’t for this school I wouldn’t be getting my Grade 12,” Jasmine said. “This school means the world to me.”
And besides the Big Chill, she’ll be doing the Snowshoe Challenge on March 5.
Canada Helps: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/TheBigChill/
Give to Live Big Chill: http://www.givetolive.ca/the-big-chill/about-the-big-chill/
The Snowshoe Challenge on March 5 brings high school girls from across the Valley together for a daylong event at Twin Oaks.
Five schools will have one female teacher bringing three students that may be considered at risk at that school.
“They will come together at the Twin Oaks site and we will host them for a day of snowshoeing where they compete as a team and individually against themselves, to challenge themselves on that snowshoe course to get the best time they can get,” Lawrencetown Education Centre Principal Jamie Peppard said.
He described it as a great day of feeling good about yourself and enjoying fitness in the outdoors.