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Creating charitable waves

Slideshow event raising funds for new society that helps underprivileged youth

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What: Living Water Experience Fundraiser

When: Wednesday, March 22, 9 p.m.

Where: Wild Wood Pacific Bistro

Tickets: By donation

Jennifer Paddock, president of the newly formed Living Water Experience Leadership Society, recounts how when managing the opening of the Wild Wood Bistro in Pemberton she would take staff on outdoor adventures because she knew they otherwise couldn’t afford the experience.

"They lived on the Birken River, but had never been rafting before," she said. "A lot of kids don’t get to do what a lot of us take for granted. We just wanted a chance to give back to the community."

Paddock and other Whistler/Pemberton guides have rallied to form the non-profit society, which aims to make leaders out of underprivileged youth from the Sea to Sky corridor through outdoor education programs.

The first programs take place this summer, including a six-day Leadership Discovery program and a 10-day Leader’s Challenge.

The group is hosting its first fundraiser next week, featuring a slideshow by local photographer Gavin Duffell as well as live music from Rob Nesbitt, a silent auction, drinks and appetizers at the Wild Wood Pacific Bistro (at the tennis club) in Whistler. Duffell, a South African native and now Whistler resident of 12 years, will share a 20-minute presentation of wildlife, character and landscape images from both South Africa and B.C. at the event.

"We are raising funding to cover insurance," Paddock said. "All the guides are volunteering their time this summer. Everyone is highly certified. We can’t do this without community support."

She said she would like to see the program expand to include follow-ups with the kids who have participated, helping them pursue a career in the outdoors if so desired.

"There will be top-rope climbing, introductions to white water activities, team building and group discussions," she said. "I would like to see some follow up if they are interested in different careers."

For more information about the society, visit www.livingwaterexperience.com.

Admission is by donation (a suggested minimum of $5).

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