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Non-profit relocates to North Vancouver

Power To Be offers range of adaptive recreation opportunities
Non-profit relocates to North Vancouver

A B.C. non-profit organization that has long been working to enable community members to engage in adventure-based recreational programs no matter what personal barriers they may face, has recently relocated to North Vancouver.

"Power To Be works within the North Shore and Lower Mainland communities to provide accessible outdoor adventure activities to a variety of community groups. Essentially we're working with youth and families living with a disability... We work with a ton of community partners in the region and we're working to create greater access in their lives by addressing isolation, access to nature and physical health," says Kevin Chapman, development associate for Power To Be, which recently moved its home base from Vancouver to 182 Pemberton Ave.

The organization's roots go back to 1998 in Victoria and it has been active in Vancouver for the last decade. Power To Be has served more than 8,000 participants since its inception and this year alone expects to serve more than 1,000 through both its Victoria and Lower Mainland program streams.

Among its initiatives is a Vancouver Islandbased Wilderness School, a multi-year program serving youth and helping to foster leadership, social development and life skills.

Offered on both the Island and locally is its adaptive recreation program serving youth and families with a disability. Individuals become involved with the organization either by connecting directly, or through their involvement in other community service organizations. Partner organizations include North Shore Disability Resource Centre, North Shore Connexions Society, Canadian Mental Health Association, Deep Cove Canoe and Kayak, InterFit and Grouse Mountain.

"We work to create long-term partnerships. A great example of that would be the Canucks Autism Network.. .. They have a group of youth that they're working with and have a program calendar of resources in the community that they're leveraging, but what they don't have is the accessible equipment, which is sort of our niche market," says Chapman. "So we provide that adaptive recreation element to their program calendar. We're doing that with over 50 community partners, so the program calendar on our side fills up pretty quickly. The interesting challenge for us is we ensure we're really adapting our equipment to the experience and the needs of each individual participant.. .. We're really looking at how to identify what barriers exist in that participant's life."

Power To Be offers a number of their programs on the North Shore, including winter activities on the mountains and in warmer months, paddling out of Deep Cove. Other activities include camping trips, indoor climbing, hiking, surfing and yoga. "As much as this is about providing an outdoor experience that connects people to nature, it's about far more than that. We're creating friendships, we're creating confidence, we're creating the belief in somebody's ability," says Chapman.

Power To Be programming is offered year-round and is led by trained staff, and through the support of dedicated volunteers. "As much as we've grown, we're always looking to meet a higher demand and the demand keeps growing for this type of service," says Chapman.

Programs are fully subsidized and offered mainly at no charge or for a minimal fee, therefore fundraising is an important focus. In addition to seeking donations, the organization hosts annual fundraising events. Participants are wanted for the Vancouver Tweed Ride, Sept. 20, held in support of Power To Be ( In addition, while their upcoming annual corporate adventure race Power To Play Vancouver, set for Sept. 24, is sold out, they're still looking for event volunteers (

For more information on Power To Be, to get involved as an individual or an organization, to volunteer, or to make a donation, visit